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Acholi Leaders Want Local Vigilantes Armed to Keep Karimojong Cattle Thieves Away

John Amos Okot, the MP Elect for Agago North says wants the government to arm the groups with guns to protect their animals since the Karamojong rustlers have now resorted to using guns while carrying out their operations.
LOP Betty Aol Ocan declaring her interest to contest for Gulu City Woman Member of Parliament in July last year. Photo by Jesse Johnson James

Audio 7

Leaders in the Acholi Sub-region want the government to arm local vigilantes in Agago and Lamwo districts to address cases of cattle theft.

This follows a series of cattle raids that have left hundreds of cattle stolen from the two districts by the Karamojong cattle rustlers in recent times.  The most affected sub-counties and areas include Omiya Pacwa, Lapono, Lira Kato, Parabongo, Wol, Paimol, Kalongo among others.  

In January, close to 1,000 youth and few elderly men armed with bow, arrows, and spears volunteered to guard kraals.

John Amos Okot, the MP Elect for Agago North says wants the government to arm the groups with guns to protect their animals since the Karamojong rustlers have now resorted to using guns while carrying out their operations.  

//Cue in: “Our boys have   

Cue out … steal our cattle”//.  

Okot says that currently, the cattle owners have resorted to keeping the cattle together, chaining and locking them using padlocks which have not had any significant impact given the fact that the rustlers use guns.  

//Cue in: “Our people who   

Cue out … with it freely”//.  

Okot says as the Acholi Parliamentary group, they plan to hold cross-boundary meetings with leaders in the Karamoja region to try to rally the locals against cattle rustling but also promoting peaceful co-existence amongst the two communities of Acholi and the Karamojong. 

 

//Cue in: “we have to   

Cue out … change the mindset”//.

Betty Aol Ochan, the Leader of Opposition in Parliament blames the government for the continuous cattle raids in the Acholi sub-region. She says the government failed in disarming the cattle rustlers but also providing security for the Karamojong who are often attacked by the Pokot cattle rustlers from Kenya.  

//Cue in: “This is failure   

Cue out … without cattle rustling”//.  

According to Aol, the government is sending troops to other countries including Somalia, the Central African Republic among others leaving Uganda`s boundary with Kenya open and vulnerable to invasions by Pokot cattle rustlers.  

//Cue in: “Government of Uganda   

Cue out …. By soldiers”//.    

Gilbert Olanya, the Kilak South MP who also doubles as the Secretary-General of Acholi Parliamentary Group wants the government to deploy soldiers along the borders between the Acholi and Karamojong community to enhance security if the Karamojong cattle rustlers can’t be disarmed.  

//Cue in: “Gamente omede ki   

Cue out … mayo dyangi”//. 

//Cue in: “I remember sometime   

Cue out … compete with a gun”//.  

Several herds of cattle in Agago district and parts of Lamwo district have been raided by suspected armed Karamojong cattle rustlers with 35 of the rustlers killed in the past two months.