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Police frustrated by exaggeration of numbers of animals stolen in Karamoja

Moroto, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The joint security forces in Karamoja sub-region have raised a concern that the community has intentionally continued exaggerating the number of animals stolen which is affecting their smooth recovery.

Livestock thefts have become significantly harmful because unlike previously where tracking and recovering stolen animals from known perpetrating communities was simplified, the new criminal tactics involve use of mobile phones and lorries for transporting animals outside Karamoja making it much harder to track them.

Micheal Longole, the regional police spokesperson for Karamoja says that they have strengthened their field operations to deal with cattle raids and tracking of animals but their efforts are being frustrated when the community is not transparent.

‘’Karamojong have a common problem of not reporting the exact number of animals stolen, we find it very difficult to track what we don’t know, it would be better you tell us the actual number so we can try our best to recover them,’’ Longole said.

More recently, leaders and communities in Karamoja have been pointing fingers at security forces for failure to recover stolen animals and delayed response during the attacks.

Mark Lokwamer, an elder and resident of Nadunget sub-county in Moroto district said that Animal recoveries are not taking place in Matheniko communities and they doubt the role of security.

‘’So many animals get lost and we have not been able to get our them back, why is security able to recover animals from other communities but not ours?” Lokwamer lamented. “I don’t think exaggeration of animals can fail security in their work yet they can’t even recover one single calf!’’

Paul Komol Lote, the district chairperson, noted that the community exaggerates the animals in order to put the security forces under pressure while tracking.

Komol said that in most cases the security forces have a tendency to relax when they realise that the number of animals raided is small.

David Koryang the Moroto District chairperson says that the insecurity in Karamoja is exacerbated by the often fruitless and slow recoveries of animals which has frustrated the community and raised mistrust in the security forces.

Koryang also noted that false identification of cows recovered and failure to distribute back to the rightful owners have also contributed to the increasing cases of raids in the region.

The joint security forces report that over 9,000 head of cattle have been recovered since they launched their operations in July 2021.

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