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Livestock Theft Now a Major Concern in Karamoja - CSO's

Martin Lopira, the head of Warrior Squad, a Kotido-based non-governmental organization at the forefront of rehabilitating former warriors, says cattle raids have reduced significantly, with cattle thefts for the market taking its place.
A boy herding sheep in Kotido Municipality.

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While cattle rustling is no longer a big problem in Karamoja sub region, a new trend of livestock theft mainly for commercial purposes has cropped up, according to experts on Karamoja issues.

Martin Lopira, the head of Warrior Squad, a Kotido-based non-governmental organization at the forefront of rehabilitating former warriors, says cattle raids have reduced significantly, with cattle thefts for the market taking its place.

According to Lopira, before the disarmament programme in Karamoja, a typical Karimojong warrior would raid large herds of livestock, particularly cattle, for prestige and basic needs like food and marriage.

Lopira says today, save for a few raiding incidents, particularly from Turkana across the border in Kenya, the new phenomenon is that of a few individuals and organized gangs steal livestock for sale. He reveals that early this year the livestock thefts had become so serious that it was likely to revert to tit-for-tat raids, had it not been for the timely intervention of the authorities and the army.

//Cue in; I want to …

Cue out: … the stolen livestock.//

The Coordinator of Kotido Peace Initiative, Romano Longole, says that nowadays they no longer use the terms "cattle rustling or cattle raids", but rather cattle thefts. He says livestock in Karamoja has now been commercialized, unlike in the past.

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Cue out: … use these items.”//

Longole attributes the rampant thefts of livestock to disarmed warriors who lack sources of livelihood.

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Cue out: … has been blessed.//

According to Longole, there are many mechanisms put in place to combat the livestock thefts like the peace committees and inter-communal meetings that are used to weed out the culprits.

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