Lango Leaders Protest 'Infiltration' of Karimojong Herdsmen

1844 Views Lira, Uganda

In short
Awany leaders from both districts resolved recently to deploy a joint force comprising of the police and the Uganda Peoples Defense Forces -UPDF where the herdsmen are grazing their animals to monitor their activities.

Local leaders in Alebtong and Otuke districts are protesting the infiltration of Karimojong herdsmen in areas under their jurisdiction.

 
Several Karimojong herdsmen are said to have entered the two districts with more than 2000 animals in search of pasture and water triggering panic among residents.

 

Andrew Awany, the Alebtong Resident District Commissioner, says the groups majorly from Kotido, Napak and Moroto started trickling into the district last week and have now settled in Omoro and Abako sub counties. 




He says intelligence shows that the herdsmen are moving with more than 1, 000 head of cattle, 1, 000 goats and about 900 sheep.  Awany says residents are living in fear following the long history of cattle rustling by Karimojong warriors in the area. 




He describes the infiltration of the herdsmen as illegal, saying they didn't notify the local leaders of their presence. Awany leaders from both districts resolved recently to deploy a joint force comprising of the police and the Uganda People's Defense Forces -UPDF where the herdsmen are grazing their animals to monitor their activities.





''We have deployed joint forces and heightened our intelligence in the areas where the Karamojong herdsmen are temporarily settled in a bid to prevent possible crimes that they may cause," he said.



Christine Acen, the Alebtong Woman Member of Parliament, says as legislators from the two districts they plan to move a motion in parliament to push government to establish more dams in Karamoja to address the issue of water scarcity there.


 

Denis Hamson Obua, the area Member of Parliament, says as leaders of the area they are concerned that herdsmen from Karamojoa infiltrate the districts around this time each year and destabilize the communities without remorse.


He says they want to push parliament to come out with a permanent solution to the water problem in Karamoja. In January last year, leaders in Lango sub region forcefully evicted Karimojong herdsmen who had entered Olilim Sub County in Otuke district illegally. 

They accused some of the herdsmen of stealing food crops from the gardens of residents and rapping women they would find fetching water and collecting firewood.

 

About the author

Denis Olaka
Denis Olaka is the URN bureau chief for Lira, in northern Uganda. Apac and Otuke fall under his docket. Olaka has been a URN staff member since 2011.

Olaka started his journalism career in 2000 as a news reporter, anchor, and then editor for Radio Lira in Lira district. He was subsequently an editor with Lira's Radio Wa in 2004 and Gulu district's Mega FM.

He was also a freelance writer for the Daily Monitor and Red Pepper newspapers.

Olaka's journalism focuses on politics, health, agriculture and education. He does a lot of crime reporting too.