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President directs security to hold pastoralists liable for Lakang destruction

FILE PHOTO: President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni posing with a spear in Kitgum last year. He is campaigning in the region this week and has hit out at pastoralists causing destruction to their neigbours crops. 

Gulu, Uganda |  THE INDEPENDENT |  President Yoweri Museveni has directed Amuru District leaders, backed by the military and police, to hold pastoralists accountable for the destruction caused by their livestock on the community crop gardens.

This follows a protracted outcry by residents from the six villages of Lakang, Bana, Lujoro, Omee, Lwak Obito and Pailyech in Amuru Sub County, of continued disturbances by livestock, herded by the pastoralists in the area.

In 2017, President Museveni, through Minister of Agriculture ordered the pastoralists to vacate Lakang land but the directives were never heeded to. In March, Amuru District Security Committee also resolved to evict the nomads without success.

Amuru Resident District Commissioner Geoffrey Oceng Osborn disclosed to URN that they had already issued a seven-day ultimatum for the pastoralists to vacate and many have complied but a few have remained adamant.

While campaigning in Gulu City on Monday, President Museveni said he was shocked to hear that the pastoralists were still grazing in Lakang and have continued to cause unprecedented mayhem on the local population. 

In 2019, the government through the Ministry of Lands Housing and Urban Development disbursed more than 11 billion Shillings as compensation to 114 of the 209 landowners. However, the compensated and those yet to be compensated have been hiring the land to the Balalo for grazing their cattle.   

The presence of the pastoralists whose origin remains sketchy but are linked to Rwanda has also been reported in other parts of Acholi sub-region with large herds of cattle. The areas include Atiak Sub-Count and Palaro in neighbouring Gulu and Angagura Sub-County in Pader District.

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