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Local leaders refute police crime report on cattle raids in Kitgum

Kitgum, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Local leaders in Kitgum are puzzled by the underrepresentation in the 2021 annual police crime report on the number of cattle stolen in the district last year.

The police crime report compiled by the Criminal Investigations Directorate issued on Wednesday shows that only 13 cases of cattle rustling were registered in 2021 in the country, compared to 20 cases registered in 2020.

“The rustling took place in the districts of Kaabong with 09 cases, Amudat with 03 cases, and Kitgum with 01 case,” the report reads. However, the local leaders in Kitgum say the report is a gross underrepresentation of the statistics regarding the number of cattle raids in the district and the entire country as a whole.

They have asked the police to consult them if they want fairly accurate statistics to compile in their annual crime report. Patrick Kilama, the Orom East sub-county LCV councilor, says that the area is the most affected in terms of cattle raids in the entire district.

According to Kilama, Orom sub county and Orom East lose an average of 20 animals to rustling monthly and questioned the source of information the police uses to compile the annual crime report.

Johnson Acellam Toodera, the LC3 chairperson of Orom sub-county, says that from October 2021-to date, Karamojong rustlers have raided 819 animals and only 80 have been recovered.

Acellam says that because of the laxity of security to act on rustled animals, many residents have decided not to report any more thefts.

Emmanuel Angol, the Orom sub-county Gombolola internal Security Officer-GISO also disputes the police report, saying not a single day goes by without cattle raids by either South Sudanese or Karamojong in the sub-county.

Angol says that on Tuesday and Wednesday this week, some animals were raided at the border of Kitgum with South Sudan.

Due to the rampant cases of cattle rustling in Kiteny, Orom, and Namokora sub-counties in Kitgum district, the Chief of Defence Forces-CDF Wilson Mbadi visited the district on February 28th, 2022 to find a lasting solution to the problems caused by the rustlers in the Acholi sub-region.

In response to the meeting with the CDF, more than 1000 soldiers of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces were deployed last month in the affected areas to counter the cattle raids.

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