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Cattle Markets in Karamoja Resume After Raids

Sale of cattle has resumed in a few markets across Karamoja sub region three months after security officials suspended the trade over thefts.
A UPDF soldier attending to recovered animals in Rupa sub county in Moroto district recently.

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Sale of cattle has resumed in a few markets across Karamoja sub region three months after security officials suspended the trade over thefts. 

Cattle trade was suspended in Kotido and Abim in January this year.

In October last year, cattle thefts intensified in Karamoja plunging the region into panic. More than 3,000 head of cattle were stolen along ethnic lines and thieves exploited the advantage to trade in cattle. As a result, security agencies resolved to suspend all cattle trade in markets in Kotido and Abim districts for months. 

However, in Kotido, only Kanawat cattle market in the municipality has resumed business. The Resident District Commissioner (RDC) Kotido, David Modo, says the market was opened last week on Wednesday after assessing the situation. 

According to Modo, all sub counties in the district have cattle markets. He notes that cattle markets were turned into hubs for stolen animals which encouraged thefts from different parts of the district and its neighbours. 

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But Abim RDC, Samuel Hashaka Mpimbaza, says his district has not yet lifted the suspension of cattle trade. Mpimbaza notes that the district is still recording several cases of cattle thefts adding that some thieves have turned bushes into markets. 

The RDC observes that cattle thieves now connive with businessmen from Elgon region to transact cattle business in the bushes at night.

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Capt. Isaac Oware, the Third Division army spokesman, says the situation of cattle thefts has reduced after the trade was suspended in Kotido and Abim districts. 

"It was such a wise decision by the District  Security Committee as a counter-measure against cattle thefts, while monitoring and reviewing the security situation prevailing," Capt Oware said. 

Only the two districts were affected by the suspension of cattle trade. Most of the cattle thefts were reported in Kotido and stolen animals were transported through Abim district. In its operations, the UPDF impounded several cars and suspected stolen animals from Panyangara and Napelimoru sub counties in Kotido. 

RDC Modo says they have arrested close to 100 suspects who are currently being tried by both military and civil courts.