Karamoja, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Leaders from Karamoja sub-region have asked the government to compensate pastoralists whose livestock was stolen by suspected Turkana herdsmen.
Thousands of herds of cattle have been stolen from the districts of Kotido, Kaabong, Moroto and Napak.
Kotido district authorities said 2,398 cattle and over 950 goats have been raided since last month valued at 4 billion shillings while Kaabong is yet to recover 5,450 heads of cattle stolen in a space of 3 years valued at 4.5 billion shillings.
The Kaabong LCV Chairperson, Mark Abuku said the raids by the Turkana have deprived the Karimojong of their wealth and impoverished the community which is still recovering from the wounds of disarmament exercise.
Abuku said government failed to provide protection to its people and their property and therefore it should compensate those who have lost livestock and their loved one in the raids.
Other district leaders including the Kotido LCV Chairperson, Ambrose Lotukei says that people lost their property under the watchful eyes of the government and the UPDF command.
Lotukei, however, ruled out the possibility of going to court for compensation saying as leaders they will engage the central government on the matter.
John Byabagambi, the Karamoja Affairs Minister, however, asked the leaders to be patient as government involves Nairobi on the recovery process in the spirit of the East African Community.
Byabagambi also dismissed reports on the number of missing livestock accusing the leaders of exaggerating the figures.
The Karamoja leaders also asked government to close its borders to Turkana pastoralists whom they accuse of raiding cattle from Karamoja and crossing with it into Kenya.
The calls by the leaders could threaten the Memorandum of Understanding signed in September by President Yoweri Museveni and his Kenyan counterpart for Uhuru Kenyatta on joint interests like development, trade and grazing between the two countries.