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Leaders and residents in Kayunga District have cried out to security organs to curb the rampant animal thefts in the area, saying it is frustrating government efforts to fight household poverty.
While handing over calves to beneficiaries on November 28, Mr Amos Lugoloobi, the State Minister for Finance (Planning), said although the government had rolled out a project to give animals to households, some of them have been stolen.
“The project where beneficiaries were supposed to pass on animals to others has failed to take off because some of the animals have been stolen. Something needs to be done to stop this trend,” Mr Lugoloobi said.
The animals, which include cattle, goats and pigs are donated to residents through the Poverty Alleviation Department (PAD) of State House.
Mr Lugoloobi, however, warned residents against lynching suspected animal thieves.
According to Dr David Mugabi, the head of the district production department, corrupt and lazy security personnel, especially the police, are to blame for the rampant animal thefts.
“The law bars night animal movement beyond 7pm, but the police have failed to arrest and prosecute the culprits. I think they are given bribes and left to move at night,” Dr Mugabi said in a separate interview.
But Ms Rosette Sikahwa, the district police commander, said they had intensified night patrols to ensure that the offenders are arrested.
“We have in the past arrested some masterminds. Cattle theft is an organised crime involving many people,” Ms Sikahwa said.
She said before October, they were registering at least two cases of animal theft daily, but the number has reduced due to vigilance of the locals and police.
Dr Ronald Kanaakulya ,the district veterinary officer, asked residents to be vigilant and sleep in shifts to keep their animals safe, adding that police cannot be everywhere.
Ms Jacky Musiime, the coordinator of PAD programme, said 194 pigs and 296 goats had so far been given to residents in Ntooke Parish.
Ms Musiime said the project is being implemented in 45 model villages across the country with a plan of rolling it out to other areas.
She said those whose animals die due to negligence will pay for them.
“Look after the animals properly by providing them with water, pasture and treatment,” Ms Musiime said.