Uganda People’s Defense Forces has held a security meeting with local and political leaders from the Northern region aimed at resolving cattle rustling in the region.
The meeting was held yesterday Monday 28th in Kalango town council in Agago district with all leaders from the affected districts of Agago, Kitgum, Kotido,Otuke, Abim,Karenga and Kaabong.
Some leaders however walked away in protest after the UPDF 3rd division commander Brig Gen Joseph Balikudembe presented security findings on the warriors of Karamoja and Acholi which cited the “involvement of leaders.”
The leaders lamented on the how the issue has made their people to suffer thus demanded government intervention so that the matter is resolved in a peaceful manner.
According to Gen. Joseph Balikudembe, the report shows that local leaders of the affected areas especially the LC1 chairpersons give permission letters for the movement of stolen cattle.
He noted there are local leaders that connive with warriors and cattle rustlers to aid them in the looting of animals in one of his reports.
The meeting therefore came up with an action plan that would help curb the vice of rustling in the area and restore peace.
The UPDF first action is to impound the stolen cattle in order to get suspects and guns for prosecution before the courts of law.
Brig Balikudembe said in 2020, the UPDF recovered 155 rifles with 1565 ammunition and 218 suspects were prosecuted in court.
He added that in 2021, more than 223 rifles were recovered with 2732 ammunition recovered with 451 suspects prosecuted.
He therefore asked the leaders to come up with a system and support the UPDF in battling cattle rustling.
The army chief said security is a package and therefore the responsible bodies must work as a team.
The members therefore agreed on the deployment of UPDF and Local defense units to create a secure road network for easy operations and monitoring.
It was also proposed that the local guards should assist UPDF in deployment and hold community mobilization meetings with stakeholders on quarterly basis.
The Leaders also agreed to have construction of water valley dams in kotido district for animals to avoid worries claiming that move long distances looking for water and pasture. They also government to ensure zoning and establishment of community kraals for pastoralists.
They further agreed that there will be no crossing of animals without clearance from district veterinary officers and local leaders.
The committee sought to revive and uphold the 2003 resolution on recovery and have a single market for all animals.
The recovered animals must be brought back to the owners and Establishment of government prisons farm in Langorit in omiyo pacwa in agago district.
UPDF will now enforce defensive operation and capturing of data for future compensation.
It should be noted that the illegal guns used in cattle rustling come from Kenya and South Sudan and are sometimes bought cheaply by the rustlers.
The leaders supported the idea of training and arming local defense units to work with UPDF in restoring peace in the region.