Kidega says immediate inquiries revealed that the animals were brought in the area courtesy of a local resident identified as Livingstone Oketa who invited the pastoralists on a verbal agreement with the cattle keepers who would also herd his animals along theirs.
Residents of Pinymunu village in Pajimo parish, Labongo Akwang Sub County in Kitgum district on Sunday intercepted over three dozen animals belonging to nomadic pastoralists for allegedly entering the area illegally.
The pastoralists, commonly referred to as Balalos reportedly entered the village at around 4 a.m. on Sunday morning with two FUSO trucks and offloaded 38 head of cattle. The Pinymunu village LCI Chairperson Mourensio Kidega Ladii says they only leant about the presence of the animals on Sunday morning following concerns raised by the local residents over how the animals entered the area.
Kidega says immediate inquiries revealed that the animals were brought in the area courtesy of a local resident identified as Livingstone Oketa who invited the pastoralists on a verbal agreement with the cattle keepers who would also herd his animals along with theirs.
According to Kidega, an impromptu village community meeting was then convened where community members disagreed with the pastoralists and their guests before resolving that they immediately be ejected from the village.
The residents revealed that both the sub-county and district authority were not aware of the nomads’ presence and later drove the animals and their purported owners to the sub-county headquarters.
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The Labongo Akwang Sub County Chairperson Mark Rubangakene confirms that the interception saying the animals are currently being held at the Sub County headquarters while consultations are going on before further action is made.
Those suspected to have brought the animals into the area are Benson Eric Kizza, James Muzungu and Fred Monongozi who are currently being investigated to ascertain circumstances under which they transported the animals into the district.
However, preliminary investigations into the matter indicate that the animals were reportedly ferried from Ngora district without documents clearing them to enter into the district from the district veterinary department.
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Rubangakene says the residents expressed worry that the immigration of the herdsmen into their village could pose risks of escalation of conflicts over communal grazing land, water and pasture; and a possible outbreak of livestock diseases.