Cooperate on cattle rustling, Museveni tells security agencies

President Museveni addresses political and security leaders from Lango and Acholi sub regions during a meeting at Baralege in Otuke District on Friday. PHOTO | PPU

President Museveni has urged security agencies to cooperate to fight cattle rustling in Karamoja and the neighbouring regions of Teso, Lango and Acholi.

The President made the remarks while meeting political and security leaders of Lango and Acholi sub-regions at Baralegi State Lodge in Otuke District on Friday.

“Coordinate with each other. In security, you must coordinate horizontally and vertically, that is the only way you can effectively provide a service. Blind deployment is tiring soldiers and costs more for nothing. This is not war, it is an intelligence-led operation,” he said. 

The President also said the police can fight cattle rustling with their current manpower if they cooperate with locals and use governance systems in place such as local council officials. 

“Cattle thefts need a law enforcement operation. Manpower must be paid for, must be fed, must be clothed! We must sit as security and see the most effective way the police exploit its force,” he said adding, “I challenge you to check the size of the Force at Independence! The size of Uganda has not changed. The Uganda you are looking after is the same one handed over at Independence. They were managing huge areas with small numbers. What you need is to plan and to use government systems like the chiefs.”

Mr Museveni reiterated his call to security agencies in the districts bordering Karamoja Sub-region to embrace intelligence-led operations as opposed to reactionary ones to end cattle rustling.

“You must have intelligence-led operations, not reactionary. This is not a war but a law enforcement operation. Discover the person before the raid, not to investigate after the raid. Cattle thieves are not very sophisticated people,” he said.

The President said cattle rustling has become commercialised. 

“It is commercial now! It is no longer traditional cattle rustling. It is business. They steal the cows, put them on lorries and go and sell them in the markets,” Mr Museveni said. 

He added: “I was teasing soldiers recently that this now makes the work easier because first of all the roads in Karamoja are not many. So, if you say they are transporting animals on lorries, where do they pass? There are not so many roads. That means, you the soldiers are the ones allowing them to pass.”

The President said the government would install CCTV cameras on roads to fight theft of animals. 

The President also said Uganda is coordinating with neighbouring countries to curb cross-border cattle rustling.

“Even if there are suspects in Kenya, we shall work with Kenyan government and arrest them. The Kenya government cannot harbour people who are endangering us. Even South Sudan, these are friendly governments. As long as we have got the intelligence, we shall go for them,” he said. 

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