Hundreds flee as warriors raid Kapelebyong

Locals flee suspected Karimojong cattle rustlers in Acinga Sub-county in Kapelebyong District on April 5, 2022. Deadly attacks by armed rustlers have remained persistent in the Karamoja Sub-region. PHOTO/SIMON PETER EMWAMU

What you need to know:

  • Brig Joseph Balikuddembe, the commander of the Moroto-based UPDF Third Division blamed the latest occurrences on some locals.

Suspected Karimojong warriors have invaded Kapelebyong and Katakwi districts, forcing  hundreds of terrified locals to flee to neighbouring districts with their livestock .

Ms Jessica Apio, a resident of Okoboi village in Kapelebyong, told Daily Monitor that the rustlers made off with 67 head of cattle in Acinga Sub-county.

“We have suffered for the last 3 years. The warriors have killed our colleagues, stolen our cattle and we are virtually not settled. Where is the government, where is the security, where are our MPs,” she said yesterday.

Ms Apio said in 2018, Karimojong cattle rustlers killed two of her relatives.

Mr James Okello, a resident of Onganyakonye Village, in Kapelebyong Sub-county, said they have had sleepless nights. He added that the children have not had a chance to be at school for the better part of this term.

“Government appointed key politicians to bigger posts but they seem to hold no value, we are under the same torture from the warriors,” Mr Okello said.

He said during the campaign season, officials from the NRM party told them that they would bring peace if they voted them. 

“We took heed, but we are now regretting the decision we made,” he said. 

Mr Joseph Enotu, the chairperson for Okungur Sub-county, said all schools in Okoboi, Obulin, Acinga, and Airabet areas prematurely closed a week ago as one of the precautionary measures to safeguard the children.

He said since January, five people have been killed by the warriors in Okungur Sub-county.

“People have fled their homes on empty stomachs, those who have camped at schools, churches and health centres need food and shelter,” Mr Enotu added.

He said vigilantes in Kapelebyong and Acinga sub-counties killed three warriors  on Monday night.
Mr Francis Akorikin, the chairperson for Kapelebyong, said people have been living in fear for the last eight month.

Mr Geoffrey Omolo, the chairperson for Katakwi, said the people of Obwobwo and Ongongoja in Usuk County have also fled their villages with their cattle.

He added that three days ago, three girls from the same family in Acanga Parish, Ngariam Sub-county were injured by Karimojong rustlers.

Mr Omolo said the girls were taken to Soroti Regional Referral Hospital where they underwent surgery before being discharged on Monday.

He said the people who fled Obwobwo have camped at Aketa and are desperately in need of help.

Brig Joseph Balikuddembe, the commander of the Moroto-based UPDF Third Division, said the situation was under control.

Mr Balikuddembe blamed the latest occurrences on some locals within the districts of Teso bordering Karamoja. 

He accused them of taking the law into their hands by killing innocent Karimojong. 
“People shouldn’t take the law into their hands,” Mr Balikuddembe said. 

He claimed the aggrieved Karimojongs reiterate to avenge the killings of their people.