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Karamojong pastoralists ask security forces to halt recovery of stolen cattle

The Jie and Matheniko pastoralists in a peace meeting at Kobebe grazing area. URN photo

Moroto, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Karamojong pastoralists have asked security forces to stop recovering stolen animals in the region. The pastoralists argue that they have tried to seek possible solutions to end insecurity but they get frustrated by the security forces.

Lobur Apaa Lochap, a pastoralist in Kotido district says sometimes the raiders are forced to go for raids in an attempt to recover what is lost and through that, the vice continues.

He suggested that the security forces also give them time to track these animals since they understand the movement of their colleagues.

Lobur says that the security personnel trusted to track the stolen animals are not well versed with Karamojong methods of raids, which explains why some animals are not recovered.

“We all want peace but there are few wrong elements among us who are letting us down and we can manage them, the problem comes in when the security starts chasing everyone as if we are all thieves’’ Lobur lamented.

John Lokwang, another pastoralist noted that for a long time the joint forces have been trying to reclaim peace in the region but in vain.

Lokwang said they should be given an opportunity to conduct their own peace meetings locally where they meet with other communities to identify the main causes of insecurity and how to go about it.

According to Lokwang, the security meeting usually organized by the government has failed to yield results because it’s being militarized and freedom of speech is limited.

“When we go for these meetings, we are not allowed to give our views, its only leaders besides that the meeting is being surrounded by armed men in uniform, Karamojong don’t like intimidations,’’ he said.

John Robert Adupa, the LCIII Chairperson Lotisan sub-county in Moroto District said that since the warriors have come out openly to embrace peace, it is better to listen to their concerns and give them a chance as per their request.

Adupa said if the warriors think that their proposals work best, the security forces should offer them time as they assess their performances.

Justin Tuko, the Deputy Resident District Commissioner for Moroto welcomed the proposal saying that the warriors have admitted that they are giving the army hard times to struggle to track their animals.

Tuko says the idea of the community tracking their stolen animals without security may work because they know better ways of dealing with the raiders who are among themselves.

But Michael Longole, the Mt Moroto Regional Police Spokesperson said it is a mockery for the community to think they can end cattle theft without the support from the forces.

“They have noticed that we are on the final touches to pacify the region, now they want to fail us in our mission, these warriors are very tactical and we shall not accept that nonsense’’ Longole said.

Isaac Oware, the UPDF 3rd Division Spokesperson said they shall have to assess the competence of the community to track armed warriors and then guide them according to the operational matters.



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