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LDUs, Suspected Karamojong Rustlers Exchange Gunfire in Agago

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"Following timely information from the owner of the animals, we immediately moved into action to intercept the cattle thieves at Lakwa central, Omia Pahcwa Sub County. The cows have been handed over to the owner,” said Lt. Kato.
LDU soldiers prepare to take position for range shooting at 4th Division training school Lugore in Gulu District on Friday. Photo By Julius Ocungi
Local Defense Unit-LDU personnel have foiled a cattle robbery by suspected Karamojong rustlers in Agago district. According to information obtained by URN, nine heavily armed rustlers invaded Lakwa central village in Omia pachwa sub-county on Wednesday night where they looted four animals belonging to a local farmer.

However, LDUs from Agago Battalion confronted the rustlers leading to a fierce gunfire exchange. Lt. Hassan Kato, the fifth Infantry Division Spokesperson told Uganda Radio Network in an interview that they managed to recover the looted cattle.

"Following timely information from the owner of the animals, we immediately moved into action to intercept the cattle thieves at Lakwa central, Omia Pahcwa Sub County. The cows have been handed over to the owner,” said Lt. Kato.  

Lt. Kato says none of their personnel sustained injuries in the fight, adding that suspects fled towards Kotido district where they are suspected to have originated from. He says their intelligence indicates that the suspects were armed with seven Sub-machine guns, two bows and arrows.  

According to local authorities, the rustlers invaded the area on Monday for a reconnaissance mission before launching a full scale attack on Wednesday night. John Bosco Kinyera, the Agago District speaker, says one of the groups abducted Alfred Kicaya Ocibi, the councilor for Persons with Disability in the area on Tuesday and held him hostage till Wednesday. 

Ocibi was reportedly abducted from his garden in Gweng-paleya in Lakwa A village, Lakwa parish by seven armed rustlers. The incident comes just days after UPDF shot dead a suspected Karamojong cattle rustler in Kurugwe Village in Paimol Sub County on Monday. Lt. Kato says the deceased was part of a larger group that invaded the area on a spying mission for cattle kraals.

The Fifth Infantry Division Commander, Brig. Michael Kabango last week blamed the recurrent raid in the district on a network of local collaborators. The sub-counties of Omiya Pacwa, Paimol, Lapono Adilang and Parabongo, all bordering Karamoja region have been hard hit by the resumption of cattle raids since the beginning of this year. More than 200 cows have been looted from farmers.

Most of the animals were recovered, thanks to the presence of a strong group of local vigilantes backed by the army especially in Paimol Sub County. At least four suspected Karamojong cattle thieves have been killed by the local vigilantes in Paimol Sub County in the past three months.