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Army Seeks Collaboration from Vigilantes to Curb Renewed Cattle Theft

More than 1,000 youthful vigilantes in Paimol sub-county, one of the areas frequented by the cattle thugs early this year volunteered to guard their kraals and protect animals from looters. This comes at the backdrop of an increment in cases of cattle theft in the district by warriors from the neighbouring Karamoja region.
Local vigilantes in Agago District.1
The army has called for joint coordination with local vigilantes in Agago district to ease the fight against cattle theft by armed Karamojong warriors.

More than 1,000 youthful vigilantes in Paimol sub-county, one of the areas frequented by the cattle thugs early this year volunteered to guard their kraals and protect animals from looters. This comes at the backdrop of an increment in cases of cattle theft in the district by warriors from the neighbouring Karamoja region.  

But Lt Hassan Kato, the fifth infantry Division spokesperson, however, says the vigilantes formed are working in isolation, without a clear line of command, thus scoring minimal success in curbing cattle theft.  His statements followed a raid conducted by another group of armed warriors in Kuriet village, Paimol sub-county on Wednesday.

At least 33 cows that were stolen from three farmers in the area were later recovered 30kms away following gunfire exchange between the army and the thugs. According to Lt Kato, such raids would have been easily thwarted if the vigilantes closely work with the army for the effectiveness of the entire operation.

"Lack of adequate and timely information about the raiders activities have also hampered our operations. It's why we always ask for the community to immediately report any suspicious person, be of their origins or not to the security for immediate management," he says.

The fifth Infantry Division Commander Brig Michael Kabango last week blamed the increased cattle theft in the district on local collaborators who have enabled the suspects to easily beat security traps. He noted that collaborators within communities were spying on kraals where animals are kept.

In the last one week only, three separate raids have been conducted by armed Karamojong warriors in the districts of Agago and Kitgum.  At least 20 cattle of the 100 looted haven’t been recovered. On Wednesday last week, Local Defense Unit-LDU personnel in Agago foiled a cattle theft by the warriors following an exchange of gunfire.    

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