Uganda: UPDF Warns Karimojong, Turkana Against Cattle Rustling

19 November 2019

Uganda people's Defence Force (UPDF) has warned of taking stringent measures against the two pastoralist communities, the Karimojong and the Turkana, should they fail to stop cattle rustling.

The warning was made by the commander of land forces Lt. Gen Peter Elwelu on Monday in a regional meeting with Karamojong and Kenyan leaders in Kotido District.

Gen Elwelu said UPDF was planning to increase the number of soldiers in Karamoja to deal with 'petty cattle raids'.

The meeting was convened by the minister for Karamoja affairs Mr John Byabagambi with an aim of getting an amicable solution to continuous clashing between the two pastoralist communities.

This comes after last month's serious clash between the two communities which forced hundreds of Karimojong pastoralists in Kotido District to flee their kraals citing increasing attacks from armed Turkana pastoralists.

The Karimojong claimed the Turkana had raided their 2,000 heads of cattle but daily monitor could not independently verify the claim.

Gen. Elwelu said army will not sit and watch the two communities trying to disrupt the peace that government of Uganda has established in Karamoja.

"Am interested to know that you the Karimojong and the Turkana stop raiding each other but if you don't stop you will see," he warned.

Mr Byabagambi on his part blamed the local leaders of Karamoja for failing to address the situation and only leaving it to worsen.

According to him, the conflict stemmed from some Karimojong pastoralists, he claimed that they were the ones who started raiding the livestock of the Turkana.

"When the Karimojong were raiding the Turkana, the Turkana kept on crying for help but not leader intervened so please leaders less make sure that our people live in harmony," he said.

Mr Peter Emanikor who headed the Kenyan delegation hailed Uganda for always accommodating the Turkana pastoralists in Karamoja.

He promised that the cows allegedly raided by the Turkana pastoralists from the Karimojong will be screened and returned to the owners.

"We are going back to Kenya and will make sure that all the suspected raided animals from Uganda will be rounded up and handed over to UPDF and Uganda leaders to screened," he said.

However, Mr. Mark Longole one of the pastoralists said there will be no peace between the two communities unless the Kenyan government disarms the Turkana.

"It's going to be hard unless Kenya also removes guns from the Turkana like what Uganda government did to us the Karimojong," he said.

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