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Gulu district suspends sale of land to pastoralists

Balalo pastoralists are grazing animals in Acholi sub region.

Gulu, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Gulu district security committee has suspended all land transactions to the nomadic pastoralists unless they are registered and vetted.

All the pastoralists intending to buy or hire land in the district will be required to first register with area leaders and be assessed by the security structures at the village, sub-county and the district level. All transactions involving pastoralists who are not registered will be nullified.

Gulu Resident District Commissioner Stephen Odong Latek says that the unregulated sale of land to pastoralists has become a security threat to the community because some unscrupulous people end up selling land that they don’t own to defraud the pastoralists causing unrest among families.

Latek further pointed out that intelligence reports gathered by the committee reveal that some of the pastoralists seeking grazing land are not Ugandan citizens, and are a threat to security.

Bungatira sub county councilor Billington Olweny P’Ongwech observed that the directive was long overdue, adding that several of the pastoralists have infiltrated the community, and lured them into cheap land sales.

However, David Ngole, the former Palaro sub county chairperson called for intensive community sensitization to enable land owners to lease or hire their land, but not to sale, factoring in the demand for land in future due to population explosion.

Local leaders say that hundreds of pastoralists, most of whom transport animals in trucks at night are grazing thousands of cattle in their gardens and threatening food security. Hundreds of pastoralists with cattle transported from Kyankwanzi district have in recent weeks been intercepted in Pader, Kitgum and Amuru districts without a clear destination.

In November 2020, President Yoweri Museveni directed police backed by the military to ensure that pastoralists seeking to graze in the Acholi sub-region procure land and fence it to restrict animals from encroaching on gardens.

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