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Panic in Moroto as rustlers turn to burglary

Security meeting at Natakwea primary school in Moroto municipality. URN photo

Moroto, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Tension is high among residents of Moroto municipality following attacks by suspected cattle rustlers who have resorted to breaking into people’s homes asking for money and food. Joseph Puwan, a resident of Katanga ward says that the warriors attacked him on Friday last week around 10:00pm.

He tried to call the District Internal Security Officer-DISO, as the warriors assured him that no one would come to his rescue because they are in charge of the government at night.

According to Puwan, when his number failed to go through, he decided to surrender the keys to his chicken house to save his life. The warriors made off with 20 chickens. “I just said it’s better I lose chicken than my life because they gave me two options to either hand them the keys or they burn me inside the house, I couldn’t die because of chicken,’’ he said.

John Lomutai, a resident of Acholi inn ward in the Northern division says that the warriors spend their day time socializing with the community while surveiling the areas of interest.

“These warriors come when they know you very well, they call you as if you are a good friend but should they tell you to open the door and you refuse, the next thing you hear is a bullet penetrating your door. They are serious in their attacks,’’ Lomutai said.

Paul Lokiru, a resident of Kambizi in the South division blames the attacks on the laxity of security forces patrolling around town. Lokiru wonders why the warriors are able to walk freely at night within the municipality given the tight security and security CCTV systems.

He said in most cases police always command people to enter their houses as early as 8:00 pm pretending to be doing their work but after realizing that people are indoors, they also disappear which creates a room for the criminals.

Michael Longole, the Mt. Moroto Region police spokesperson confirmed the presence of warriors and house break-ins in Moroto town. Longole noted that they recorded two attacks within the municipality each night last week.

He said they have been putting more effort outside town most especially where there are kraals thinking that the warriors were only after cows.

On Sunday evening, the joint security forces shot dead a suspected cattle rustler who was trying to sneak into a bar with an SMG rifle in Acholi inn trading centre.

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