Suspected Karamoja rustlers steal cows from Kenya

Brig Gen Joseph Balikudembe gives his remarks during a joint security meeting at Kaboong District headquarters on Monday. Photo | Yahudu Kitunzi 

What you need to know:

  • The Uganda People's Defence Forces (UPDF) 3rd Division Commander, Brig Gen Joseph Balikudembe, said that all sorts of criminality must be rooted out by all means in the communities.

Suspected Karamoja cattle rustlers reportedly raided Turkana County in neighbouring Kenya and took off with dozens of cows, Kaabong District Deputy Resident Commissioner, Mr Augustine Modo, has revealed.

“The district has been calm except for the recent unfortunate skirmishes and raids by cattle rustlers across in the neighbourhood,” he remarked during a security meeting held on Monday. He, however, did not establish the number of cattle stolen by rustlers.

The Uganda People's Defence Forces (UPDF) 3rd Division Commander, Brig Gen Joseph Balikudembe, said that all sorts of criminality must be rooted out by all means in the communities.

"I urge you the leaders to denounce criminality, unite and work towards a common goal. Some livestock thefts are planned and conducted with the knowledge of leaders, and in some occasions, it's either their sons or relatives in the act,” he said.

Gen Balikudembe noted that the ongoing disarmament operations code-named Usalama Kwa Wote has achieved a lot whereby over 615 guns and 3,998 ammunition have been recovered since July 2021.

‘Armed warriors, warriors with bows and arrows, warriors with sticks to drive stolen animals, plus their collaborators including leaders in the area shall be dealt with. Stop blame games and spreading diversionary information, and instead embrace harmony, unity, and coordination in order to consolidate relative peace in the sub-region,” he said.

He conveyed a message of hope to Turkana counterparts and asked them to exercise patience as efforts to recover stolen animals are underway.

The Ugandan authorities also told inter-pastoralist communities to continue upholding and respecting the Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) signed between President Museveni and his then-Kenyan counterpart Mr Uhuru Kenyatta, on cross-border sustainable peace and development.

In recent months, incidents of cattle raids have been reported notably in Kotido, Kaabong and other parts of the region.

The UPDF has beefed up security and vigilance in the region, but the rustlers still exploit the lapses to strike.

The Northeastern region has suffered a series of cattle raids with several people killed and thousands of cattle stolen.

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