Balalo Eviction Meeting Turns Chaotic

Comments 1583 Views Arua, Uganda
A meeting convened to resolve the impending eviction of Balalo herdsmen from Ogoko and Ulepi sub counties in Arua has aborted prematurely. The meeting was convened last evening at Odraka Health Center. However the meeting turned chaotic when local leaders accused Lt. Col Stephen Ndianabo, the 409 brigade commander of siding with the herdsmen. Troubles started when Ndianbo, said the problem between the locals and herdsmen was a result of poverty. He wondered whether the Lugabra would appreciate it if other Ugandans evict members of their community from their areas. Christine Bako, the Woman Member of parliament would not have any of this. Bako shot up and demanded an apology from the brigade commander threatening to mobilize residents to throw him out of the meeting. She said the statements by the brigade commander were a confirmation that balalo herdsmen are protected by senior army officers like Ndianabo. Before Bako was done with her outburst Luigi Candini, the Arua secretary for security ordered her to seat down drawing outrage from residents. Angry residents threatened to attack Ndianabo members of his team forcing them to flee from the meeting. Luiji tried in vain to clam down the angry residents. Luiji who accused the herdsmen of arrogance appealed to residents not to take the law into their hands, but file their complaints at Police. // Cue in: iMe I want#i Cue out#going to arrest them.i // Residents of Ogoko and Ulepi Sub County accuse the herdsmen of encroaching on their land. They also claim that the herdsmen move with guns and rob their cows. John Kanyate one of the herdsmen, who have lived in Ulepi sub County for the last four years, blames the strained relationship with members of the local community to an influx of new herdsmen. Kanyate can neither confirm nor deny that some of the herdsmen have guns. He however says that he has seen some UPDF soldiers escorting cows to some of the affected areas. A survey conducted by Arua indicates that there are over 50 families of herdsmen in the district with over 4000 heads of cattle.


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