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Kween Residents Complain of Escalation of Cattle Theft

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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.
11 Jan 2020 07:53
Some of the Recovered animals in Yatui Paris in Tuikat Sub county

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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 upper belt.

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 Bulambuli district. 

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.”

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