Two killed, 300 animals looted in Agago

Wednesday July 10 2019

Protected. South Sudan officials drive past

Protected. South Sudan officials drive past some of the recovered cows from suspected rustlers at Seritenya Border Post last year. PHOTO by TOBBIAS JOLLY OWINY 


Two people have been killed and more than 300 head of cattle stolen since January in Adilang and Lokole sub-counties in Agago District following clashes between cattle keepers and suspected Karamojong cattle rustlers.
Daily Monitor has learnt that of the 300 animals stolen, 150 were later recovered, and the Jie tribe from Kotido District is suspected of stealing the animals.
Lamwo and Pader districts have also been affected.
In January, Santos Okot, 24, was first tied to a tree, had his head cut off and abdomen opened before his cattle was stolen.
He was grazing the animals in Auu Kirute Village in Adilang Sub-county.
Another victim, Alfred Omara Odipo, 20, went missing on June 22 and his body was found a week later with his stomach cut open.
Odipo, who was a resident of Wii Kweyo Village in Lokole, is suspected to have been attacked on his way from grazing the animals at 5pm.
“It is disheartening to lose lives of such young men at a time when they are grazing their animals, which is also their only sources of livelihood,’’ Mr Leonard Ojok Opio, the Agago District chairperson, said.
“Several engagements with our counterparts from Karamoja have not yielded any positive results. During the dry season, women and children come here (Agago) looking for casual work so that they are given food. The locals have been very supportive, why hasn’t the same gesture been extended to us? he asked.
Mr Linos Ngompek, the Resident District Commissioner, said the area has been put under security surveillance to avert any possible attack from either sides. “Police, UPDF are on the ground manning the security at the moment. Preparations to deploy more LDUs are in final stages,” he said.
Mr Ngompek urged village security teams to be on the lookout and inform the relevant authorities to respond in case of any attacks.
“Some of the stolen animals are those under cattle restocking, something that might frustrate the programme meant to eradicate poverty at household level,’’ he said.
Last week, five animals belonging to a women’s group in Adilang under the restocking programme were recovered from cattle rustlers.
Jie County MP Moses Bildad Adome said the security situation in the region is alarming.
“They have also turned swords to the locals, they rob motorcycles and raid granaries. We feel so hurt when they continue to destabilise our neighbours in Acholi,’’ he said.