By Okol Emmanuel
Police in Katakwi district together with her sister security agencies have cracked down and arrested four cattle rustlers’ collaborators in Katakwi district.
The four suspected collaborators were arrested on Saturday night, 10th February, 2024 from their homes respectively.
The four are residents of Aliakameri, Katakwi Sub County in Katakwi district who have been collaborating with Karamonjong to steal animals in Teso sub region.
According to Resident district commissioner, Godfrey Katamba, the arrest followed after concerned residents arrested one identified as Simon Anyela, a herdsman and resident of Lorechora in Napak district who was trying to sneak back to Karamoja with 48 heads of cattle on 2-02-2024.
He said seven youths in Aliakamer, Katakwi district and those in Abarilela Sub County in Amuria district connived with herdsman and matched away with 48 heads of cattle which was kept at a swampy area.
“Anyela was heading to Napak district with animals via Aketa to Okulonyo where he was intercepted and taken to Katakwi central police station,” Katamba added.
He added that the security bust the cartel and intercepted the cattle in Okalonyo and they were driven back to Oburatum Barracks where interrogation was handled and Anyela revealed the corroborators.
Katamba therefore asked the culprits to desist from such vice lest they face the wrath of the law.
Meanwhile, the names of the collaborators were withheld due to continued search for more collaborators in the district.
Elvis Ojula, the chairman LC3 Katakwi Sub County acknowledged the vice in his territory and assured the locals that the law will take its case against the arrested thieves.
Ojula added that the sub county leadership has agreed with the district security team to hold a security meeting in Aliakamer and Osudan on Thursday, 15th February, 2024 in order to curb the vice in the sub county.
Jimmy Okello papa, councilor representing Getom Sub County at the district level told this publication that leaders must come up starting from LC1 and unite with security personnel in order to stop the vice.
“People of katakwi will get relieved with Karamoja disturbance if leaders and residences unite with security as the crackdown and arrest of collaborators is taking place,” Okello adds.
In the same vein, the chairman LCV Katakwi district, Geoffrey Omolo in an interview asked the community to be vigilant and reveal anyone connected to collaboration to any leader or security personnel.
Some of the farmers in Katakwi district who were disturbed asked the field court martial to be brought to Katakwi in order for other hiding collaborators to learn from it.
Background on cattle raids
Teso Sub-region has witnessed cattle raids since the 1970s when Karimojong warriors started having access to automated weapons and locally-made arrows, which they have continued to use for raids. The other sub-regions of Teso, Sebei, Lango and parts of Acholi have suffered similar raids.
The height of the cattle raids was witnessed in the 1980s when hundreds of herds were stolen, and by the 1990s, most of the animals in Teso were no more.
It should also be noted that in the late 1980s, the aggrieved people of Teso through the leadership of the late Peter Otai and some officers who were in the special force and police, took up arms under the rebel outfit called Uganda People’s Army (UPA) in protest against the raids.
The effects of the rebel group saw people forced to camps as both rebels and Karimojong warrior’s marauded villages. When normality returned, people in areas of Bukedea, Kumi, Ngora, Serere, and Kaberamaido started to return to their ancestral homes by 1995.
In the areas of Amuria, Katakwi and Kapelebyong, locals resettled back to their homes in early 2000s. Since then, the region has managed to grow back their herds through farming and other government interventions.