President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has tasked the leaders of Sebei, Teso and Sebei sub regions to champion the end against the persistent cattle rustling that is spilling over from Karamoja.

According to Museveni, the leaders in these regions plus Karamoja have a duty to ensuring security and peace prevails in the areas. He noted that the ongoing cattle rustling is being perpetuated by some leaders who are supporting the criminals.

The President made the remarks on Thursday during a security meeting between him and the leaders of Sebei, Bugisu and Teso at the State Lodge in Kapchorwa district over the threat of re-insurgence of cattle-rustlers in Karamoja Region which are spilling over to the neighboring districts.

According to Museveni, the rustlers have changed raiding tactics in a network that involves criminals with guns, bows and arrows, stick-squads and are driving the cows from Teso, Sebei and Bugisu through corroborators which has threatened the prevailing peace and security in the region.

“We want to catch up on the security situation in these areas. There is a problem here but it is not serious because we have capacity to guarantee security all over the country, I learnt that cattle rustling by the warriors, was becoming a phenomenon that is also from the Teso and Bugisu districts especially Amuria and Kapelebyong and Sironko,” he added.

The President said the disarmament exercise conducted some few years ago were successful, but the resurgence came back following the removal of the 5th Division in Acholi P which made the cattle rustlers to take advantage and began misbehaving.

Museveni said the leaders should tell their people that the money being spent in fighting insecurity in the country would be used to work on building the country’s infrastructure like schools, hospitals and roads to help the country grow urging them to ensure that they continue to sensitize communities against the vice.

In order to address the issue of insecurity and cattle rustling, Museveni said there is need to intensify complete disarmament of people having guns in both Teso and Karamoja, noting that the government has increased on the manpower in the regions.

The 3rd Division Commander Brigadier General Joseph Balikudembe, revealed that armed cattle rustling, killing of civilians and destruction of property cases increased due to the logistical and human resource challenges.

He said the security has since identified the gaps and intensified the operations in the area which have since become successful. He said as a result, 309 guns, 2,597 rounds of ammunition have been recovered, and 441 criminals have been apprehended since the disarmament operation in Karamoja started.

According to him, the efforts of fighting insecurity and cattle rustling in the region are being frustrated by political interference.

The new concept, according to Brig Gen Joseph Balikuddembe, targets four groups including criminals with guns, those with bows and arrows, those with sticks to drive the cows, and collaborators who are in different districts but connected and linking up with the rustlers.

During the meeting, the leaders especially those from Bugisu and Sebei sub regions raised concerns of the conflicts between Uganda Wild Life Authority and the communities. According to them, these conflicts have greatly contributed to the insecurity in the area.

The leaders also said that the cattle raiders are using the park as an escape route for the stolen animals crossing them to Kenya.

Sam Cheptoris, the Kapchorwa Municipality MP who is also the Minister of Water and Environment said the people of Sebei are also complaining of the brutality of the Uganda Wild Life Authority officials. If this has to be settled, there is need to clear the issue of the boundary.

Kimaswet Kisosi, Soi County Member of Parliament said that the issue of UWA and the locals can be solved by the consent judgment of 2005.

“There is a problem of unsettled boundary dispute between the communities and UWA which continues to fuel conflicts especially in Sebei where there is delayed settlement of the communities of the Lwanda and Kisitu,” he said.

State Minister for Teso Affairs Ongwen Obote said the government has done little in the reopening of boundaries which has escalated the Human Wild conflicts.
Dr. Mary Gorreti Kitutu, the Karamoja Affairs Minister said that UWA has not effected the President’s guidance of implementing the 1993 boundary line which said was paramount in ending the conflicts.

Bosco Okiror, the MP Usuk county and Teso Parliamentary Group Chairperson and Annet Nandudu, the Bulambuli LCV chairperson raised the issue of inter-district conflicts over boundaries which has become a security threat. They said the conflicts are causing deadly community clashes and loss of lives.

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