President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has assured the people of Acholi sub-
region of government’s commitment to end cattle raids perpetrated by
Karamojong cattle rustlers.
“I want to assure all of you that this problem will be solved because most of
the issues you have raised, I know their potential and limitations,” the
President Museveni who is in the Northern Region of the country to assess
and find solutions to the cattle raids by the Karamojong cattle raiders made
the assurance today at a meeting with leaders from Acholi sub-region
whom he invited to Baralegi State Lodge, Okwang sub-county in Otuke
Leaders invited included Members of Parliament from Acholi sub-region,
Cultural Leaders led by the Paramount Chief Rwot David Onen Acana II,
religious leaders, RDCs and RCCs, LC 5 Chairpersons, other political
leaders as well as opinion and historical leaders.
President Museveni in response to one of the contributors from Adilang,
who pointed out that the security agencies were not following seriously the
raiders once reported, clarified that the person following is always at a
disadvantage as the raider can at his will decide to ambush persons who
are following them.
He further noted that the same can also happen to the Local Defence Units
(LDUs) who could experience a similar problem.
The President added that even at the time of fighting the Lord Resistance
Army (LRA) led by Joseph Kony, this presented a challenge as the rebels
could decide to ambush anyone following them.
“We were only able to defeat Kony when we introduced gunships because
we could pass the ambushes and would engage them accordingly. You
calm down, I am here, and this problem will be solved,” the President said.
President Museveni also echoed the comment by one of the elders Mr.
Okwera who pointed out that the problem had existed since 1954 and was
exacerbated in 1979 following the overthrow of Idi Amin regime where the
Karamojong seized the opportunity to loot all types of guns from the Armory
of Moroto Army Barracks.
The President said no government after that was able to retrieve guns from
the Karamojong except the National Resistance Movement (NRM) that
embarked on the disarmament exercise and removed over 40,000 guns
from the Karamojong.
“The Army of Obote when it was overthrown had only 8, 000 soldiers and
that of Amin had only 20,000 soldiers but you hear now we were able to
remove 41,000 guns from the Karamojong,” he said.
The President said the peace in the region only came into existence
following the removal of guns from the Karamojong. He also noted that
cattle rustling was an old problem that resurfaced because of some
weaknesses on the part of the security agencies that failed to properly
package ways of dealing with the issue.
He however assured the nation that the problem will be solved again and
pledged to visit the area again in June to update them on the progress of
dealing with the cattle rustling issue.
“I promise to come back in June then you people will either say I am a
person of ‘Goba’ (Lies) or I will say you people of little faith as Jesus used
to tell his disciples,” the President said.
President Museveni had earlier briefed the gathering of the areas that were
identified as loopholes in tackling the cattle raids.
He cited the delayed response to reported cases of cattle theft by the army
and the police and not using communication gadgets like cell phones.
His Excellency also told them of the recommendations made in an earlier
meeting with senior security officers.
Other recommendations included the heightened use of Police canines,
overhead aircrafts to track down the cattle rustlers both during the day and
at night and also branding of the animals by their locations.
The President added that other methods to fight cattle rustling included;
being in close contact with the wananchi, making frequent visits to them to
ascertain their security situation as well as to get reports from the people
whom he hailed so much for providing valuable information required to help
in curbing the vice.