Six More Guns Recovered from Cattle Rustlers in Karamoja

Recovered guns in Karamoja. Photo Courtesy.

The Uganda People’s Defence Forces -UPDF and the police’s Anti-Stock Theft Unit -ASTU have recovered more guns, jerrycans of local brew, and cattle in the ongoing cattle rustling conflict in the Karamoja sub-region in eastern Uganda.

Forces under the Usalama Kwa Wote (safety for all) on Monday impounded 52 jerricans of crude local brew (waragi) from Alekilek village, Napak District which are pending disposal in Napak as per the area leaders’ request.

Waragi has been cited as one of the drivers of the conflict in the area. Waragi makes locals too drunk and they get exposed to warriors. Sometimes warriors target and victimize occupants in homes that have the area’s most precious local beer.

Security forces through one of the area spokespersons, Mike Longole, have said that a 60-year-old man identified as Cameo was shot and killed using arrows. The attackers varnished with his seven goats. This murder by shooting happened at Alerek village, Abim District.

“We want to inform the Community that, our personnel in Olem Detach are following up on the elder’s stolen goats. We shall update once they are Recovered. 200 Heads of cattle were raided in Lokwamoru, Lorengedwat sub-county, Nabilatuk District and our personnel are still tracking them,” Longole said.

Longole said they forcefully recovered gun no 42377 with two rounds from Lodia Lokorita of Panyangara, Kotido District, another gun no 4607 with 01 was voluntarily handed to the forces by Lometo from Panyangara.

Force said 30 heads of cattle that were raided from the Panyangara grazing area are being tracked by joint security forces from Napumpum. Three other guns were recovered from cattle rustlers identified as Asio Michael, Joseph Morunyang, and Modo Koriang.

Asio is a resident of Nakudep, in Nabilatuk District, Morunyang is a resident of Kopoth in Kaabong District while Koriang is a resident of Lobongia village, in Kaabong district. Apart from the recovered guns, military and police impounded 182 heads of cattle from Nakonyen since animals stolen from Nabilatuk are often concealed in that area.

“We request the leaders in that area to cooperate with security forces by giving positive leads that may lead to the recovery of raided animals. We impounded two trucks from Magoro road and one truck from the Iriiri checkpoint. These trucks were from Amudat carrying suspected stolen animals,” Longole said.  

The impounded trucks had 50 heads of cattle and 14goats. They were driven to Nakichumet holding ground for identification by the Pokot community. Longole said three heads of cattle were identified by the Pokot community as stolen animals. This led to the recording of statements from the buyers and LC I letters retrieved pending the arrest of the sellers.

“As security forces, issuing of letters by some errant LC1 chairmen to cattle thieves has persisted despite several sensitization meetings between security and Community leaders, and also traders to have genuine documents of the cows they are buying,” Longole said.

Forces have said some local leaders and cattle traders have ignored the warns and it has constantly inconvenienced other cattle traders who have genuine documents of animals they are transporting.

“We have listened to several complaints from cattle traders whenever we intercept them. To avoid this, we need to work together as peace lovers and ensure that you have obtained genuine papers for animals being transported and no one will inconvenience you once you have done what we want,” Longole said.

Forces have vowed that they will continue thanking the community for their vigilance and cooperation which has seen operations Usalama Kwa Wote yield positive results since July 2021.

At least 654 suspected cattle rustlers have been killed in Karamoja in the last 18 months. Forces have also arrested more than 21,000 suspected cattle rustlers. Hundreds of soldiers and police officers have been patrolling and fiercely engaging warriors but the area is yet to register peace.  

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