Ex-cattle thief turns to making candles
Posted Saturday, February 23 2013 at 02:16
It is now four years since he abandoned cattle rustling and robbery.
Losukari Lomer, a 28-year-old youth from Nadunget Sub-county in Moroto District, grew up knowing that cattle rustling was the only means for a Karimojong man to prosper.
He has, however, changed trade from cattle rustling to making candles and is now persuading his former colleagues, who have remained idle after they were forced to hand over their guns, to join him.
It is now four years since he abandoned cattle rustling and robbery, vices he carried out for seven years.
Losukari narrates that he abandoned his home in Nadunget in Moroto at the age of 13 and spent most of his time in the wildness, robbing travellers and raiding cattle from the neighbouring districts and Turkana land in Kenya.
“I wanted to own 7,000 heads of cattle so that I would be the hero in our sub-county,” he said.
He narrates his last raid with wistfulness, occasionally stopping as if to live the moments of that day.
He was the commander of a group of 13 youths and they had planned to raid the Matheniko community in Moroto and the Jie community of Kotido.
“Although we managed to raid 700 heads of cows, I lost nine people,” he says.
“It was at around midday, I commanded a group of 13 boys and I had one boy of 12 years who was tough. We crossed into Kotido and raided the cattle, in the battle, my friends were fierce and protected the cattle. I commanded with my machine gun but we lost nine people in that battle. It broke my heart,” Losukari narrates.
Following the loss, he surrendered his weapon to the army and ventured into farming.
“ I found digging was tough on my side and I shifted to charcoal burning which was also tough because it requires a lot of energy, including cutting down trees and digging soil to cover it, ” he said.
Losukari later learnt how to make candles from a Nigerian pastor, whose name he does not recall.
The pastor trained Mr Losukari and several others to make candles, and soap.