Last Updated on: 15th July 2023, 02:33 pm
Agago | Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) has warned collaborators and local criminal gangs involved in livestock theft that they will be dealt with like cattle raiders.
UPDF says the gangs are jeopardizing their efforts to curb the bad act in Lango and parts of the East Acholi sub-region.
This warning was sounded by the Second in Command 5 Infantry Division, Col Gai Mpadwa in Labwodong Agago District on July 14, 2023, while presenting suspected collaborators and local criminal gangs before the media.
Col Gai told area local leaders and journalists that warriors from the districts of Karamoja have been causing mayhem and UPDF has stepped up efforts to scale down the raids.
He promised to stamp out the vice completely.
Gai decried the new tendency of local people who disguise themselves as Karamojong warriors, who steal from unsuspecting fellow local people.
He paraded three youths: Odong Denis, 24, Abalo Sharon, 28, and Ajok Anah, 27.
Odong Denis was arrested in the wee hours of Friday morning with 05 stolen goats belonging to Akidi Rose, 52, of Otumpili East, Pacer parish, Parabongo -sub-county in Agago district.
He told the meeting of locals and the media that such collaborators and criminal gangs have turned the raids to be commercial where they raid, skin the cows or goats and sell the meat to local restaurants.
The above-mentioned, he said is making it difficult for the army to track them.
He added that some locals are guided by Karamojongs quickly out of the area after raids to avoid falling into army ambushes.
“Stop stealing from your selves or else you will perish in that vice,” Col warned residents.
He stressed that all collaborators, criminal gangs and sympathisers will be arraigned before courts of law and charged accordingly.
The army officer called upon the local leaders and the population to join hands with UPDF in stamping out cattle raids to ensure that peace prevails in the region.
Speaking at the same media briefing, the LC3 Chairman of Parabongo sub-county Agago district, Stephen Ochan said it was a big shame to the people of Agago and Parabongo since they are the ones stealing from each other under the disguise of Karamojong warriors.
“It’s no longer difficult to accept having seen it with my own eyes and having heard the confessions of what has been happening,” said Ochan.
The tough-talking LC 3 Chairman requested the army to deal with collaborators and criminal gangs the same way they are dealing with Karamojong warriors.
“Don’t have any mercy on them, let them reap from the consequences they are sowing. Why should you people risk well knowing that the people deployed to curb the vice are armed and purposely sent to our area to see that people are at peace,” wondered the LC 3 Chairman.
He also noted that Karamajong warriors are known for stealing cattle, not household property, money, chicken and pigs.
“This is a clear indication that we are stealing from our colleagues disguising as warriors,” he noted.
Abalo Sharon, 28, operates a bar and has been buying stolen goats and cows. She slaughters them and sells meat to her clients in the form of mchomo in the evening and also serves some in her restaurant.
Ajok Anah, 28, a tailor has also been buying stolen cattle, which she sells to other people outside Agago.
One of the witnesses Akera James, 47, warned the arrested youth to stop stealing. He was waylaid by the gang and beaten seriously, a case of aggravated bodily harm was reported to Kalongo police station SRB No.2804072023.
Operations to curb cattle theft have been tightened and investigations into the arrested suspects are still ongoing.