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South Karamoja Leaders Want Peace Talks with Pokot :: Uganda Radionetwork

South Karamoja Leaders Want Peace Talks with Pokot

John Nangiro, the LC5 chairperson of Nakapiripirit district, emphasized the need for urgent peace dialogues with the aggrieved pastoralists before they migrate back to prevent possible revenge attacks.
Pokot pastoralist grazing animals in Amudat district

Audio 4

Local leaders in South Karamoja are advocating for peace dialogues between the warring communities of Pokot in Amudat and neighboring districts. In August 2023, joint security forces sealed off Amudat district and banned Pokot pastoralists from grazing in neighboring districts due to escalating insecurity caused by Pokot armed warriors.

Currently, over 30,000 pastoralists from West Pokot in Kenya have been grazing their livestock jointly with Pokot in Amudat in the neighboring districts of Nakapiripirit, Nabilatuk, and Kween. However, the shortage of pasture and water in Amudat district has forced the pastoralists to drive their livestock back to Kenya, raising concerns among South Karamoja authorities about possible retaliation attacks.

John Nangiro, the LC5 chairperson of the Nakapiripirit district, emphasized the need for urgent peace dialogues with the aggrieved pastoralists before they migrate back to prevent possible revenge attacks. Nangiro expressed their fear, as it has been a common practice for Pokot pastoralists to evacuate their animals before launching an attack in a particular area.

He stressed the importance of coexisting with Pokot communities as long as they accept peace and seek permission before accessing land for grazing. Nangiro called for a peace dialogue and urged leaders in Amudat district to take the initiative to resolve issues amicably.

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John Lopus, a Karita town council LC V councilor, noted that although there are a few wrong elements in the Pokot community, it is not fair to label everyone in Amudat as cattle thieves. He called on security forces to use intelligence to identify criminals rather than punishing the entire community. Lopus also urged security forces to consider returning impounded cows to the community during operations to track raided cows from the Nakapiripirit district.

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Joseph Lobot, the LC5 chairperson of Amudat district, pointed out that the Pokot communities are unsettled due to evictions from neighboring districts. He cited losses of about 2000 cows to neighboring districts during the evictions. Lobot called for roundtable discussions with leadership from neighboring districts to find solutions to end the conflict and criticized security forces for impounding cows, which he believes fuels revenge attacks.

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Betty Akello Otekat, the Amudat Resident District Commissioner, confirmed the Pokot migration and asserted that the pastoralists are fleeing pressure from security forces to embrace peace. Akello stressed the importance of Pokot communities surrendering illegal guns to the government for peaceful coexistence with their neighbors.

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In a related incident on September 17, 2023, a UPDF soldier went on a shooting spree and killed over 40 cows he was assigned to graze from the Moruita-protected kraal in Nakapiripirit. These cows were part of the 291 cattle impounded on September 9 following a raid in the Nakapiripirit district that resulted in the killing of three security personnel on a tracking mission.