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UPDF raises concern over commercialized cattle raids in Karamoja

UPDF deputy spokesperson Lt. Col Ronald Kakurungu confirmed report. File Photo

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Uganda People’s Defence Forces-UPDF has raised concern about commercialized cattle raids in the Karamoja sub-region. UPDF backed by the Anti-Stock Theft Unit-ASTU has been fighting the resurgence of cattle rustling in Karamoja since October 2020.

Lt. Col Ronald Kakurungu, the UPDF deputy spokesperson said that they have noticed that the culprits secure movement permits even before they attack helpless individuals.

Kakurungu explained that some rustlers hide in the bush and wait for isolated people grazing animals and they attack cattle owners using guns or other rudimentary weapons. According to Kakurungu, it is unfortunate that there is a ready market for stolen animals because the perpetrators acquire animal movement and sale permits which make buyers believe they are genuine dealers.

“It is a requirement to have animal movement permits. But some veterinary officers have been giving these permits to people even before the raids. We are encouraging people to graze communally because we can’t secure every homestead,” Kakurungu said.

At least 20 civilians, suspected raiders and security personnel have been killed since last year in the Karamoja sub-region. In July, President Yoweri Museveni ordered for forceful disarmament of all armed people in Karamoja.

Lt Col Kakurungu explains that more than 325 people have been arrested in connection to cattle raids in the area. More than 100 of the suspects are UPDF and Local Defence Unit deserters who have since been charged in the Court Martial.

The Karamoja operation has been code-named Salama Kwowote meaning peace for all.

Museveni recently visited Karamoja and held a meeting with security personnel. The disarmament exercise involves encouraging people to voluntarily return weapons while those suspected to be hiding them are arrested in intelligence-led operations.

Lt Gen Peter Elwelu, the Deputy Chief of Defence Forces-CDF has been in Karamoja to oversee the operation for more than a fortnight. Ten days ago, people in Lorengedwat sub county in Nakapiripirit district staged a protest at Lorengedwat bridge accusing the UPDF of not protecting their lives and animals.



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