John Robert Tukei, the Elgon Police spokesperson, says they recovered over 30 suspected stolen animals but they have failed to trace their owners. “During the Christmas season we had about 30 animals, which we recovered and tried to look for the owners in vain,” he said.
There is an escalation
of Cattle thefts in Kween, particularly in the
upper belt of the district. The most affected are Tuikat, Kwosir,
Kitawoi, Beneti, Kaseko, Kwoit, Mofok, Kapkwata and Kwaniji Sub counties in the
Most of the stolen animals stolen in these
areas reportedly end up in Bugisu region. Those from Ngenge,
Sundete, Chepusukunya and Giligi Sub counties in the lower belt of the district
are allegedly stolen by the Pokot. According to residents, more than 2000 head of
cattle have been lost within the last three years.
The stolen animals are
allegedly transported through Mount Elgon National Park to Bulambuli and
Sironko districts from where they are transferred to Mbale, Namisindwa and some
districts in Bukedi region.
David Mande, a member of the Beneti Lobby Group, a Community
Based Organisation, which supports the indigenous Beneti Community and residents
of Tuikat Sub County, says residents have since established that teenagers in
the area collaborate with outsiders to steal their animals.
He says previously stolen animals were taken to
Pokot in Karamoja before they shifted to Kenya and Bugisu respectively. He says
efforts by residents to recover the animals have failed to yield results.
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He blames government and Uganda Wildlife
Authority for not helping them to recover the stolen animals.
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Abdul Chemutai, the Ngenge Sub county LC V Councilor told URN
that at least 381 cows have been stolen from his sub county in the past 4
months. He says they are considering expelling the Pokot from their community
because they are part of the animal thefts.
“We have always tracked these animals and we
end up in Pokot land but their leaders haven’t been cooperative to help us
recover these animals” he said.
Paul Sakit, the Tuikat Sub county LC III Chairperson
told Uganda Radio Network that they have been battling livestock theft for the
last five years, adding that he has repeatedly reported the problem to district
authorities but they have never responded.
He wants government to intervene by recruiting
indigenous Local Defense Unit personnel to deal with the problem.
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Geoffrey Cherop, the LC I vice chairperson Sabu
Village in Yatui Parish in Tuikat sub county, says three animals were stolen
from one of the residents that on Monday but they managed to track them to
He says they need weapons and LDUs to repulse the cattle
raiders since they are usually armed.
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Rogers Taitika, the Sipi Region Police Spokesperson confirmed
to URN the increasing cases of cattle rustling over the past few months. “The
habit had stopped but of late it has surged but we are in touch with the Uganda
People’s Defense Forces-UPDF to intensify operations so that we manage the
problem,” he said.
John Robert Tukei, the Elgon Police spokesperson, says they
recovered over 30 suspected stolen animals but they have failed to trace their
owners. “During the Christmas season we had about 30 animals, which we
recovered and tried to look for the owners in vain,” he said.
Both Taitika and Tukei say the cattle thefts are
coordinated by the people from within the Sebei region and places where the
animals are taken. However, the Kween Resident District Commissioner, Denis
Baliwonelawa dismissed claims of the escalation of animal thefts, saying that
he has only registered four cases of stolen animals between November and
December since he joined the district.
“There are isolated cases of theft of cattle in
two months I have only registered 4 cases” he said. Adding that, “People in the
affected areas are being reckless with their own animals by practicing free
range grazing where they leave the animals in the bushes for so long. When they
are stolen they take long to report to the authorities.”