Agago, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | At least Sh 1 trillion is needed to compensate for the losses that caused by suspected Karamojong cattle rustlers in the past five years.
In May, President Yoweri Museveni, while meeting Acholi and Lango leaders to assess and find solutions to the Karamojong raids in Baralegi State Lodge in Otuke District, promised that families who lost their relatives will each receive 5 million Shillings as condolence.
Grace Freedom Kwiyocwiny, the State Minister for Northern Uganda says she has sent a projected budget of one trillion Shillings to the President.
According to Kwiyocwiny, the money will cover lost lives, injuries, looted and unrecovered animals, and iron sheets for houses torched.
The estimated budget, if effected, will cover the losses from 2018 to April 2023, but adds that the data will be updated because more raids have been committed after April.
Agago district is the most affected by the Karamojong cattle raids.
In August, a report by leaders in Agago revealed that at least 100 people were killed by armed Karimojong cattle rustlers in 11 sub-counties in Agago District in the last five years.
The sub-counties most affected by the Karamojong raids are Lira Kato Sub-county, Lai Mutto, Adilang Town Council, Omiya Pacwa Sub-county, Parabongo, Kuywee Sub-county, Paimol, Adilang Sub-county, and Lapono Sub-county.
The report also shows that a total of 109 people sustained severe injuries, and 116 houses were torched. The report adds that 1,632 cattle and 2,685 goats from the various sub-counties were also looted by the armed warriors in the same five-year period.
The Karamojong cattle rustlers have been looting animals in Acholi since 1954, but there were interruptions in the activities due to disarmament exercises and the civil wars in Acholi, including the LRA war.
However, they resumed their activities in 2018, and have graduated to not only looting but also injuring, killing, stealing foodstuffs, and burning houses, with Agago as the most affected district, followed by Kitgum district.
David Pulkol, the Director of Africa Leadership Institute, who is also the principal advisor under Operation Wealth Creation-OWC says the cattle theft has become complicated because of collaborations from a number of parties including the locals.
Pulkol says the raids have persisted because it is now easier for wrongdoers to infiltrate the community and steal animals pretending to be the traditional cattle raiders.
Pulkol expressed optimism that although some personnel who should have restored calm have been implicated in the crime, the changes in the 3rd and 5th divisions in Kotido and Acholi in Agago, respectively, will improve the situation.
In order to improve access and easy follow-up of stolen animals, leaders in Kitgum and Agago have proposed that road networks be improved in Agago and Kitgum districts. Some of the proposed roads are; Omiya Pachwa-Kicok-Kokil-kasseri road, and Layita, Orom, and Odom Road. Others are; Odom-Kuruken-Orom Road, Korner Kokil-Kuruken-Lungor Dam, Acholinyek-Kuludwong Road, and Kuludwong-Kamorono-Abim Road.