Napak, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Reformed Karimojong cattle rustlers are accusing the government of abandoning them after convincing them to voluntarily surrender their firearms which was their only source of survival.
This stems from the recent decision by Uganda Wildlife Authority-UWA to flash the former rustlers from breaking stones at Naput site claiming that it falls under Matheniko Bokora game reserve. The former rustlers would sell the stones to cement companies and earn money for their survival.
The decision by UWA has not gone down well with the warriors and communities that have been surviving on crashing stones for sale. They have now threatened to resort to massive poaching as means to survive.
Markio Lokoru, one of the reformed rustlers says that he handed over two guns to the government two years ago and started breaking stones for his livelihood.
“Government told us to hand over guns and we respected the directive. It failed to create for us projects forcing us to start breaking stones for survival. They are again chasing us away, what is really government looking for? “he asked.
Margret Angolere, a mother says that she has been looking after her children through breaking stones. She however says that now UWA has evicted them from the site feeding her children which is going to be hard.
“This is not the first time UWA is mistreating us. They are blocking us from even cultivating, now again they are stopping us from breaking stones,” she said.
Apananynag Korobe, a reformed cattle rustler says that they will resume giving the government hard time should UWA continue blocking them from breaking stones.
“We shall not leave this, we are going to mobilize ourselves and our neighbouring brothers to face off. We cannot accept our children to die of hunger yet we still have the energy to break stones, “he said.
Koryang Lokut, another reformed warrior said that they would resume massive poaching since UWA wants to take over their business.
“Our children are not eating. We are not even seeing the revenue they claim they are giving us through the local revenue sharing arrangement,” he said.
Fred Kiza, the Chief Warden of Mt. Elgon conservation area where Matheniko-Bokora game reserve falls warned to arrest whoever is found mining in the park.