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Rustlers Kill Two in Agago

James Opira, the LC 3 chairperson of Omiya sub-county identifies one of the deceased as John Kanyankole, who hailed from Ntungamo district but had married in Lacekoto village, Layita Parish, and was attending to the animals of his father-in-law.
07 Jul 2022 11:48

Audio 6

Suspected Karamojong cattle rustlers have killed two people in Agago district over the last two days.  The killing occurred in Omiya Pachua Sub-county on Tuesday and Wednesday. 

James Opira, the LC 3 chairperson of Omiya sub-county identifies one of the deceased as John Kanyankole, who hailed from Ntungamo district but had married in Lacekoto village, Layita Parish, and was attending to the animals of his father-in-law.

According to Opira, Kanyankole met his death at the hands of the rustlers around 1 pm Tuesday when he went to water the animals at a nearby stream.

//Cue in: “Dano meno obedo…”

Cue out: … ki tung Ntungamo.”//

On Wednesday night, the rustlers again raided the home of 68-year-old Caesar Okello, a resident of Laciko Village, Lake Parish.  Opira said the rustlers found the animals chained with a lock and padlock and ordered the old man to hand over the keys to the padlocks before shooting him dead.

//Cue in: “Kare ma Koromojong…

Cue out: …mzee otoo kenyo.”//

Opira said the raiders went with five animals that were recovered by UDPF. The rustlers returned later and torched a grass-thatched hut in the same home.  He said the mistreatment of the locals by the Karamojong is making life unbearable as they seem to be after more than just animals.   

//Cue in: “Dyangi abic weng…”     

Cue out…kabedo maber.”//  

Peter Ocan Amiri, the speaker of Lapono Sub County, who is also the councilor of Amyel Parish, said that many people have fled their homes while those at home are restless and cannot do meaningful agriculture. 

Due to the vast land in Acholi, many farmers can leave their homes and go to farm kilometers away. However, this no longer happens, as farmers fear moving far to open farmland. Ocan said because of farming disruptions the farmers don’t even have seeds as all have been eaten.

//Cue in: “Kombedi bene dong…”

Cue out: …maje cen peke.//”

Ocan re-echoed the request to arm the youths that were recruited to counter the Karamojong. Since the end of 2021, local leaders in Agago district have been requesting the government to revive and arm vigilante groups in the areas frequented by the cattle raiders.

In March 2022, Agago district recruited arrow boys to guard the locals and their animals against the increasing Karamojong attacks. Ocan wonders why their request to arm the youth has not been answered, arguing that the constant attacks by the rustler is making them victims live the same life they lived during the LRA war.

//Cue in: “Wan wacoyo jowa…”

Cue out: …ka gamente bijolowa.”//

Attacks on residents in Agago have increased since December 2021 following the withdrawal of the of Anti-Stock Theft Unit personnel, ASTU in November 2021.  

ASTU was deployed in Karamoja to help with the disarmament exercise. However, the disarmament exercise forced the Karamojong to flee to Agago, where they continue to raid animals, displace and kill people.