Moroto, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | A total of 160 innocent people were killed by the Karimojong cattle rustlers since the rustling crimes resumed last year. This disturbing statistic was revealed by police, reflecting a person murdered every two days in order for the rustlers to get their loot.
Micheal Longole, the Karamoja regional police spokesperson said the unarmed civilians lost their lives in various incidents by rustlers, which included road ambushes and direct attack on the kraals.
“160 innocent people lost their lives to the cattle rustlers during the ambushes, and when they sneaked to attack the kraals,” he said.L
Longole didn’t disclose the number of security personnel killed by rustlers.
He added that in the same period, the raiders managed to raid 15,122 heads of cattle but the joint security forces, police and army managed to recover back 14,088 heads of cattle and handed them over back to the owners. This means that a human life was lost for each 94 cows rustled, without counting the non-civilians and even rustlers killed during the rustling follies.
Longole noted that the joint security has however managed to put the situation under control.
According to Longole, the region has registered a decline in cattle raids due to the continuous presence of the joint security forces and that they are alert and on standby.
Moses Lokiru, a resident of Namijit village in Moroto district however faulted the security for being slow in responding to avert cattle rustling.
According to Lokiru, the rustlers would have not killed people if the forces were quick in responding to the calls by the community.
“In most cases raiders come and attack people but the security forces take their own time to intervene, they respond when the raiders are already gone,” he said.
Peter Teko who lost his three children when the raiders attacked his kraal said he made several phone calls to the forces but none of those he called responded in time.
“I watched painfully when my three kids were being shot dead by the raiders as they took away all my animals from the kraal and to make things worse, till now I have not recovered back my animals,” he said.
But in response, Longole said the security forces were then not heavily deployed as they are now.
“We didn’t have enough personnel but later the president sent more troops both police and army to deal with insecurity in Karamoja, that’s why we are managing the situation,” he said.
Joyce Namer, another resident urged the forces to be tough on the rustlers saying cattle rustling has dragged Karamoja backwards in terms of development.