What you need to know:
Crackdown. Authorities note that the LDUs have helped recover animals stolen by Karimojong rustlers.
Security officials in Agago District have confirmed the deployment of at least 600 Local Defence Unit (LDU) personnel on its border with Abim and Kotido districts to fight cattle rustling.
This follows rampant cattle raids in the area by armed raiders. The most affected sub-counties are Omiya-pacwa, Paimol, Lapono Adilang, and Parabongo.
Mr Linos Ngompek, the Agago Resident District Commissioner, told Daily Monitor at the weekend that the move aims at revamping the district’s commercial livestock production.
“We now have enough LDUs. We have more than 600 of them manning our borders from Otuke District to Orom Sub-county in Kitgum. They are directly supervised and backed by UPDF soldiers,” Mr Ngompek said.
He said the recovery rate of stolen animals has increased to 80 per cent since the deployment compared to previous rates of below 50 per cent.
“In the previous years, raids and theft of cattle was too much, however, since last year, the raids scaled down significantly because we have increased deployment. We also have the anti-stock theft unit forces,” he added.
Last week, the anti-stock theft unit and LDU personnel recovered 17 head of cattle in Abim District, a week after they were raided by armed rustlers from Karamoja. “Although security has been tightened, some points of the border are still porous and these are the spots where the raiders penetrate from,” Mr Raymond Otim, the Omiya-pacwa LC3 chairperson, said .
However, Mr Samson Lubega, the district police commander, said they have been on high alert for the past eight months to counter Karimojong rustlers.
“When they sneak through to steal animals, we have standby structures created through community policing who immediately alert security forces who pursue these animals until they are recovered,” Mr Ngompek said.
Authorities also slapped a ban on the trade and transportation of livestock at night.
“We no longer allow animals to be transported at night because we discovered that there are thieves who come from as far as Arua District and neighbouring South Sudan to trade in animals. Majority of the animals do not have movement permit, meaning that they are stolen,” Mr Ngompek said.
Last year, government kicked off the deployment of 1,500 LDU personnel at the border of Agago and Kitgum districts to tackle cattle rustling. They have been undergoing training at Labwor-dwong Training School in Paimol Sub-county, Agago.