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Lamwo district leaders seize over 80 animals of ‘Balalo’ pastoralists

Lamwo, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Lamwo district officials have impounded 87 cattle belonging to pastoralists commonly known as balalo. The animals were impounded from a kraal on communal land in Abunkutu and Kadomera villages in Palabek Nyimur sub-county.

James Ochola, the LCV councilor of Nyimur sub-county says that the leaders and community are frustrated because even after the presidential directive to evict the pastoralists, every dry season they sneak back and let their animals destroy crops and gardens.

Ochola said since the beginning of the year, the animals have destroyed an estimated 12 acres of sorghum that was due for harvest. He added that the pastoralists also burned areas that farmers had earmarked to plant this season’s simsim, saying they want pasture to sprout for their animals.

Jennifer Okot, the chairperson of Padwat West and Kadomera villages said the area that the community has planned to grow their simsim totaled 250 acres.

According to Okot, the simsim farmers always protect their simsim gardens from bush fire, so that they get a high yield. She said now that the area has been burned, the farmers can only use it next year when it rejuvenates.

Okot said the land in question is part of communal land that is used by the community to farm. Billi Moses, the LC3 chairperson of Palabek Nyimur sub-county said there were more than 2,000 cattle brought into the sub-county, but they managed to confiscate only 87, as the owners fled.

Sisto Ocen Oyet, the Lamwo district chairperson said the pastoralists will be fined for bringing their animals into the district illegally and destroying crops.

According to Oyet, the district leaders have agreed that each pastoralist is fined five animals, to deter them from returning to the district.

The local leaders in the district have been struggling to permanently evict the pastoralists since the 2021 presidential directive. The directive saw all the pastoralists driven out of the district by July, however, they keep sneaking back.



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