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Police Operation Paralyzes Trade in Bukedea

Audio 1

Police have impounded more than 1000 heads of cattle destined for sale in Bukedea Cattle Market.

Bukedea district local government last week secured an injunction from Soroti High court stopping the sale of livestock from Bukedea cattle market.

The injunction followed six month of ownership wrangles between Bukedea district and Bukedea Town Council.

The two local governments have been fighting over the control and management of revenue generated from the market.

The town council claims that the market is located within its territory and therefore has rights to collect revenue. In response the district has ordered for the market to be shifted out of the town council.

The wrangle took a new twist yesterday when police sealed off the market to prevent traders from selling livestock.

Jacob Opolot the Bukedea District Police Commander says the operation which began on Sunday at 3.p.m was ordered by the Inspector General of Police.

Opolot says the operation was aimed at preventing traders from selling livestock in the disputed market in respect to the court injunction. The operation however resulted into violent clashes between traders and the police.

Lawrence Osaulo, a cattle trader wonders how a market that has existed from 1934 could just be closed abruptly without notifying the traders. Osaulo says the authorities should have given them some time to relocate to the new site.

John Francis Okwi, another trader complained that the police operation made them lose money. He says they are failing to sell cattle because the district has refused to issue livestock movement permits to traders.

Juma Akol, a parent who had brought his cow to sell to raise school fees complained that the timing of the police operation was bad because they may fail to send their children to school on time.

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Alfred Igune, the LC3 Chairperson of Bukdea Town Council wonders why police blocked the traders from selling their livestock yet the town council has lodged an appeal in the court of appeal.

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Bukedea cattle market is the largest weekly cattle market in eastern Uganda with average weekly sales of more than 1500 heads of cattle.