Raiders spread mayhem in Teso, steal more cattle

Hundreds of locals flee Acinga Sub-county in Kapelebyong District last week. PHOTOS/SIMON PETER EMWAMU

What you need to know:

Katakwi has lost more than 2,000 head of cattle to rustlers since November 2021.

Suspected Karimojong warriors on Monday night made off with 120 head of cattle in Okulonyo Village, Okulonyo Sub-county, Katakwi District.
The chairperson for Katakwi, Mr Geoffrey Omolo, told Monitor that the cows belonged to an elder, Mr Samuel Obolonye.
“As we talk, I am on my way going to join a team of villagers in the sub-county and see how we can handle the crisis,” Mr Omolo said on Tuesday.
He said the district had lost more than 2,000 head of cattle since November 2021.

Mr Omolo said they have alerted security forces about the matter and they are waiting for an intervention.
In Kapelebyong District, Mr Francis Akorikin, the chairperson, said they had not received any information in regards to cattle raids.
Mr Akorikin said the district is still trying to recover more than 250 head of cattle that are still missing.
Brigadier Joseph Balikuddembe, the commander of the UPDF 3rd Division based in Moroto, said he was trying to get in touch with security forces on the ground to find out whether the cattle had been recovered.
He added that the deployment of Local Defence Unit personnel was underway.

In Kumi District, the chairperson for Tisai Sub-county, Mr Ben Chilakol, said one person was shot dead by suspected Karimojong warriors at the weekend, barely a month after five other people were killed in the same island.

Stranded children cry in Acinga Sub-county, Kapelebyong District, last week. 

He urged the government to  deploy UPDF soldiers in Tisai Island.
Last week, hundreds of people in Kapelebyong fled from their homes after attacks by suspected Karimojong warriors. Since then, some are still taking nights in camps.
Background on cattle raids
   Teso Sub-region has witnessed cattle raids since 1970s when Karimojong warriors started having access to automated weapons and locally-made arrows, which they have continued to use for raids. The other sub-regions of Teso, Sebei, Lango and parts of Acholi have suffered similar raids.

   The height of the cattle raids was witnessed in the 1980s when hundreds of herds were stolen, and by the 1990s, most of the animals in Teso were no more. 
    It should also be noted that in the late 1980s, the aggrieved people of Teso through the leadership of the late Peter Otai and some officers who were in the special force and police, took up arms under the rebel outfit called Uganda People’s Army (UPA) in protest against the raids.

    The effects of the rebel group saw people forced to camps as both rebels and Karimojong warriors marauded villages. When normality returned, people in areas of Bukedea, Kumi, Ngora, Serere, and Kaberamaido started to return to their ancestral homes by 1995. 
     In the areas of Amuria, Katakwi and Kapelebyong, locals resettled back to their homes in early 2000s. Since then, the region has managed to grow back their herds through farming and other government interventions.