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Teso leaders ask Museveni for security against cattle theft

Museveni launches the livestock restocking Implementation program in Acholi, Lagos and Teso . PHOTO PPU

Soroti, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Leaders in Teso have urged tough action from President Yoweri Museveni over the increasing cases of insecurity along the Teso border with Karamoja. The President was in Soroti on Saturday to launch the livestock claimants’ compensation payment for the war debt claimants in the Acholi, Lango and Teso sub regions.

Local leaders expressed and showed their unhappiness at the current situation, when President Museveni attempted to respond to the remarks made by the Minister of State for Teso Affairs, Dr. Clement Ongalo Obote on security. Obote had indicated that compensation of livestock to the people of Teso without securing their property from cattle rustlers wouldn’t help in realizing economic empowerment.

“Let us settle this matter,” Dr. Obote said in his statement before inviting the Deputy Attorney General, Jackson Kafuuzi to speak. “My only wish, Your Excellence is that this cycle does not keep repeating itself. We do have challenges again from our uncle (Karimojong). I hope that we don’t restock for them to come and take because we have been having challenges especially (theft of cattle) in Katakwi”,

When the president took to the podium, he said that he had received a security report from the Vice President, Jessica Alupo detailing the current trends in cattle thefts by the Karimojong. He said the report indicated that whereas the Karimojong used to steal cattle for traditional activities like marriages, the currents trends have been commercialized.

This prompted the President to invite the 3rd Division Commander, Brig. Joseph Balukudembe who was in attendance to explain the new trend of cattle thefts.

As Brig. Balukudembe tried to explain the new trends of cattle thefts, several leaders heckled him and others stood up to speak on the matter.

The President observed that it is either laziness or something else causing cattle thefts at the borders with the Karimojong.

Peter Ogwang, the Ngariam County MP who is also the Minister of State for Economic Monitoring jumped to the floor and indicated that there is more into the renewed cattle thefts. Ogwang told the President that he had just lost 25 head of cattle on Friday night to the suspected Karimojong cattle thieves.

Christine Apolot, the Kumi Woman MP said that cattle thefts are now coupled with killings of people at the borders, especially in Kumi and Bukedea districts. Her comments follow the death of three people allegedly killed in Kumi and two others in Bukedea district between February and March.

Patrick Amuriat Oboi, the FDC Party President demanded for immediate action from the government on the insecurity along the Karamoja borders. Amuriat was speaking during a press conference at Nature Gardens on Saturday night.

However, President Museveni acknowledged that there has been some slight decrease in manpower along the border, a situation he pledged to address.

Recently, a section of Karimojong and Iteso leaders asked for the transfer of UPDF commanders manning security in the 3rd Division for their alleged involvement in aiding commercialized cattle thefts.

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