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Balaalo Herdsmen Stranded With Over 2,000 Cattle in Katakwi :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Balaalo Herdsmen Stranded With Over 2,000 Cattle in Katakwi

The decision to chase the Balaalo herdsmen away stems from concerns in Ongongoja over the alleged interference with the economic and agricultural activities in the area. According to Joseph Ecuman, the District Councilor representing Ongongoja sub county, most of the people in the sub county have lost crops in the gardens to the Balaalo cattle which are not proper managed.
Herdsmen with cattle in Katawi.

Audio 3

More than 50 Balaalo herdsmen are stranded with cattle in Katakwi district headquarters as residents chase them away from their grazing grounds in Ongongoja Sub County.

The Balaalo who were sent away from Ongongoja on Wednesday have since pitched camp at Katakwi district headquarters to seek the intervention of the security personnel in the district.

The decision to chase away the Balaalo herdsmen away stems from concerns in Ongongoja over the alleged interference with the economic and agricultural activities in the area.

According to Joseph Ecuman, the District Councilor representing Ongongoja sub county, most of the people in the sub county have had their crops in the gardens destroyed by the Balaalo's cattle.

Ecuman, who doubles as Katakwi District Vice Chairperson LCV notes that the community became aggressive to the Balaalo herdsmen after realizing that they were neither considerate nor cooperative whenever residents complained over their crops.

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Angella Akengo, the district female councilor representing Angodingod Sub County says that besides failing to cooperate with the community, the Balaalo cattle have limited the residents from keeping animals since all the grazing land has been taken up by the Balaalo.

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Information in the district indicates that some of the Balaalo have acquired land in Ongongoja, making them residents in the area. Fred Kanyagambo, one of the Balaalo herdsmen who spent a night in Katakwi district headquarters with animals on Wednesday says he is surprised by the reaction of the community after settling in Katakwi for two years.

He says that all the allegations by the community against them are meant to taint their image as herdsmen from Ankole.

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During the scuffles on Wednesday that attracted the intervention of the security personnel, two people were injured and are still receiving treatment at Katakwi General Hospital. After an emergency security meeting, the Balaalo were sent to Ajesai Animal Holding Ground but the community in the area denied the Balaalo access to the facility.

Last year, Katakwi district council passed a resolution to chase away Balaalo herdsmen but the implementation was not effected as security leaders in the district declined to act.

The Katakwi Resident District Commissioner, Geoffrey Katamba didn’t pick or return calls to his known telephone contact. Our reporter couldn’t find him in the office by the time of filing the story.