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Matheniko Leaders Decry Rising Cattle Thefts by Tepeth Warriors :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Matheniko Leaders Decry Rising Cattle Thefts by Tepeth Warriors

Speaking to URN, the leaders expressed fear for their people as Tepeth warriors continue to terrorize the Matheniko community.
Karamojong Reformed Warrior handing over illigal gun to security forces at UPDF 3rd Div headquarters

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Local leaders in Lotisan and Rupa sub-counties in Moroto district have raised concerns about insecurity in the area, urging security agencies to intervene. Speaking to URN, the leaders expressed fear for their people as Tepeth warriors continue to terrorize the Matheniko community. 

The Tepeth, an ethnic group of Ngi-Karamojong residing on top of Mt Moroto and its foothills, clash with the Matheniko community, who inhabit the lower plains of the mountain in Moroto district. Emmanuel Loiki, the Rupa Sub County LC V Councilor, stated that the Tepeth exploit their elevated position on the mountain to terrorize people from the lower plains, as security finds it challenging to climb up while tracking stolen cows. 

He reported a recent raid last Saturday resulting in the loss of over 36 cows to Tepeth warriors, which remain unrecovered on the mountainside. Loiki mentioned that criminals from the lower plains have also taken refuge on the mountain to avoid ongoing security operations. 

Loiki revealed that the group consistently steals livestock, sets ambushes on roads to extort money, and highlighted the desperate measures some community members are taking, resorting to purchasing guns from Turkana pastoralists for protection against Tepeth warriors. He appealed to joint security forces and Tepeth leaders to intervene before the situation escalates. 

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Clementina Lochoro, the Lotisan Sub County LC V councilor, questioned the Tepeth community's decision to fight the Matheniko despite being from the same district. Lochoro noted the resurgence of raids in August last year, with frequent attacks on her sub-county despite ongoing security patrols. She emphasized the need for protection and urged security commanders to collaborate with local leaders and the community to address the conflict. 

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Maj Isaac Oware, the UPDF 3rd Division spokesperson, confirmed the attacks, stating that security forces have intensified cordon and search operations on the mountainous side where criminals reside. 

Oware mentioned specific black spots in the mountainous areas where armed criminals hide, and efforts are underway to apprehend them. He acknowledged the challenging terrain but assured ongoing operations to contain the situation.

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The peace in Karamoja is gradually returning due to ongoing security-community engagements by joint security forces, leaders, and civilians.