The move follows a directive issued by President Yoweri Museveni during the Heroes Day Celebration on June 9, for investigations into the reported thefts. The matter had been brought to the President’s attention by Hajji Edris Sseddunga, the chairperson of the Uganda War Veterans Association.
The call for branding cattle follows an outcry of Teso leaders especially in the districts of Kapelebyong and Katakwi over the increasing cases of cattle thefts by the Karamojong thieves for the last two months.
The rampant thefts have affected revenue collection in Karugutu and Rwebisengo Sub Counties. Andrew Kawamara, the LCIII Chairperson of Rwebisengo Sub County says that local revenue collected from the sale of the cows has gradually reduced since there are no cows to sell due to the thefts.
Col. William Bainomugisha, the 406 Brigade Commander, says the army was forced to retaliate following an attack by the community members against uniformed officers. He blames the local leaders for inciting the community against the army.
Most of the stolen cows are smuggled to Kenya and Tanzania across Lake Victoria. In the past, Police has come under criticism for failing to stem the cattle thefts. In May last year, residents petitioned Richard Gulume Balyainho, the Buvuma Resident District Commissioner over the matter.
Cattle Keepers in Ntoroko district are blaming the rampant cattle theft in the district to police inefficiency. The indigenous Batuku in Ntoroko district, are predominately cattle keepers and the cattle is their only source of income to the households.