Livestock traders in Bugisu Sub-region have defied a quarantine that was imposed by the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal industry and Fisheries last month.
The quarantine was imposed in the districts of Mbale, Sironko, Namisindwa and Manafwa following an outbreak of foot and mouth disease.
The ministry had also ordered the closure of butcheries, livestock markets and banned the sale of animal products.
Daily Monitor investigations found that livestock traders in the affected districts have defied the quarantine.
Mr Johnson Okoth, one of the traders, said they are facing a lot of challenges as a result of the quarantine.
“We are stranded yet we have families to feed and pay school fees but we cannot get money to do that because of this quarantine,” he said.
Last week, authorities in Manafwa District arrested six livestock traders on allegations of violating quarantine rules. The traders were arrested on the orders of Manafwa Resident District Commissioner Ahmed Washaki.
They were intercepted by police at Bubulo Trading Centre while allegedly trying to smuggle cattle into Kenya.
Mr Washaki said a Kenyan truck carrying 14 head of cattle was impounded.
“I was tipped that cattle traders were loading the animals heading to Kenya. I immediately directed the police in Manafwa to intercept, arrest and impound the vehicle with all the animals,” Mr Washaki said.
He warned traders not to defy the quarantine.
The Mbale District Veterinary Officer, Dr Phillip Wakimwere, said the quarantine is still in place to control the spread of the foot and mouth disease.
“Our quarantine is in three sub-counties of Bukonde, Lwasso and Bumboi, not the whole district. Other areas in the district are safe,” Dr Wakimwere, said.
However, findings by Daily Monitor reveal that there is still uncontrolled movement and consumption of animal products in the said sub-counties and other affected neighboring districts.
Mr Robert Waninga, a former chairperson of Buyobo Sub-county in Sironko District, said the disease has greatly affected cattle traders and farmers in the district.
“The disease has persisted in our area and a number of cattle have died. Although the district put a quarantine, there is a problem of enforcing it because people are still slaughtering the animals, selling meat. There is night movement of cattle,” Mr Waninga said.
Dr Peter Charles Okori, the Sironko production officer, said they have asked the ministry to provide more vaccines.
Last month, the district embarked on a rapid vaccination programme of cattle within the quarantined areas but it has since run out of vaccines.
“We have tentatively halted the vaccination programme because the doses that were supplied by government were not enough. We are only waiting for them to send vaccines, but we are not sure when this will be done,” Dr Okori said.
Police bans livestock movement beyond 6pm. Police have banned the movement of livestock beyond 6pm.
Kabarole Resident District Commissioner Steven Asiimwe said they have received many cases of livestock stock theft at night, which has caused fear and anxiety among livestock farmers in the area.
Mr Asiimwe said people moving with livestock beyond 6pm without valid permits will be arrested and their livestock impounded.