The Uganda People’s Defence Forces –UPDF has expressed concern
about commercialized cattle raids in the Karamoja sub-region. UPDF backed by the Anti-Stock Theft Unit –ASTU has been fighting the resurgence of cattle
rustling in Karamoja since October 2020.
Lt. Col Ronald Kakurungu, the UPDF Deputy Spokesperson, said that they have
noticed that the culprits secure movement permits even before they attack
Kakurungu explained that some rustlers hide in the bush and wait for isolated
people grazing animals and they attack cattle owners using guns or other
rudimentary weapons. According to Kakurungu, it is unfortunate that there is a ready
market for stolen animals because the perpetrators acquire animal movement and
sale permits which make buyers believe they are genuine dealers.
“It is a requirement to have animal movement permits. But some
veterinary officers have been giving these permits to people even before the
raids. We are encouraging people to graze communally because we can’t secure every
homestead,” Kakurungu said.
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At least 20 civilians, suspected raiders and security personnel have been killed
in the last year in the Karamoja sub-region. In July President resident Yoweri
Museveni ordered for forceful disarmament exercise of all armed people in
Lt Col Kakurungu explains that more than 325 people have been arrested in
connection to cattle raids in the area. More than 100 of the suspects are UPDF
and Local Defence Units –LDUs deserters who have since been charged in Court
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The Karamoja operation has been code-named Salama Kwowote meaning peace for all.
Museveni recently visited Karamoja and held a meeting with
security personnel. The disarmament exercise involves encouraging people to
voluntarily return weapons while those suspected to be hiding them are arrested
in intelligence-led operations.
Lt Gen Peter Elwelu, the Deputy Chief of Defence Forces –CDF has been in
Karamoja to oversee the operation for more than a fortnight. Ten days ago,
people in Lorengedwat Subcounty in Nakapiripirit district staged a protest at
Lorengedwat Bridge accusing the UPDF of not protecting their lives and animals.
Joseph Kato is currently a Master's candidate at Makerere University. He holds a Bachelors Degree in Mass Communication from Kampala International University, a Diploma in Journalism and he's also a graduate in Guidance and Counseling.