By Christopher Nyeko
KITGUM: Farmers in Kitgum district are anticipating famine outbreak following the persistent cattle raiding in the district.
The most affected areas are Namokora Town Council, Orom, Kiteny, Orom East, Namokora and Namokor North sub counties.
Some farmers who spoke to ugreports Tuesday evening said they are failing to revamp much cultivation of their land as rain resumes due to persistent animal raiding.
The animals are being looted by the suspected South Sudan and Karamojong rustlers, something they reveal will contribute to low production of produce like millets, bean, sorghum, simsim, maize, cassava among others hence famine outbreak.
The local authorities revealed that locals are transferring their animals to their relatives in the neighbouring sub counties such as Omiya anyima, Mucwini and Madio opei in Lamwo, for safety.
Simon Peter Luwari aged 52, father of seven children, resident of Labongo otac village Gule parish Orom East sub county Kitgum district whose his one pair of oxen was looted by the Karamojong rustler told ugreports that he is unable to cultivate his one acre piece of land.
“Following the raid of my cattle by the Karamojong cattle rustlers from my kraal, i can’t culvate my one acre of land in time since i’m weak.”
David Okema 28, a resident of Akilok trading centre in Okuti parish, Orom East sub county revealed that his uncle who was the chairperson of Akelam village was killed on Wednesday 20th April 2022 the incident Okema described as traumatizing.
Okema asserted that the incident has so far discouraged the farmers from attending to their gardens in the dawn as it was the common practice. ”Farmers are now going to their gardens late and they don’t take long since they were used oxen for ploughing.”
The statistics obtained from the sub county local authorities revealed that only from January to April this year, Kiteny sub county has lost over 20 herds of cattle however 13 were recovered, over 70 goats were stolen however 42 were recovered .
The sub county also registered one case of death of an 82 year old woman, a resident of Lakonggera village, the deceased was identified by Alfred Okema the sub county chairperson as Evlyne Ayaa who was assaulted by the raiders and later passed on from her home in February.
Johnson Toodera Acellam the Orom sub county Chairperson revealed that his sub county has lost a total of 182 herds of cattle but 80 were recovered, 864 goats were stolen however none was recovered.
He further revealed that at least 5 people were killed and 3 were injured all this year respectively.
Bruno Nelson the Orom East sub county chairperson revealed that his sub county has lost a total of over 1,000 goats, 100 herds of cattle respectively but none of them was recovered.
According to Bruno, 5 people were injured and 3 were killed in Orom East Sub County this year. In Namokora Sub County a total of 15 goats were looted and none was recovered.
Geoffrey Opyet Junior, the Namokora sub county chairperson said the numbers of the stolen goat may exceed that numbers which they have earlier revealed to ugreports because residents have left their animals to marauding freely.
The local leaders in the embattled sub counties in Kitgum district are anticipating famine outbreak as their locals have embarked on selling off their livestock to the animal’s buyers from Kitgum Municipality and Gulu City that are storming the area buying the animals at cheaper prices.
Opyet added that many animals which were transferred to other sub counties for protection from the raiders have reportedly been lost on their way to their sub counties of origin.
Due to the raiding of animals for ploughing, people have resorted to traditional methods of cultivating the land such as use of hand hoes which can not till the land massively.
As a method to adopt to the challenges caused by the raiders who have looted a number of oxen, locals have resorted to mobilizing and organizing themselves in a group of at least 10 to 15 members who are currently gardening jointly however it does not still produce much compared to when they were using animals to carry out farming.
The leaders’ attempt to handle the cattle rustling has come to a dead end according to the revolution made by Johnson Toodera Acellam.
Leaders from the affected sub counties, convened the meeting on the 7th March 2022 hosted Orom Sub County with the purpose to find out the lasting solutions to the persistence cattle rustling.
The meeting was attended by the commander of the Land forces Lt. Gen Muhoozi Kanerughaba from UPDF, miniters, district security teams, political leader, cultural leaders and various stakeholders.
During the meeting they requested the government to permit them recites arrow boys and arm them with guns, at least five guns in every parish but their request was paid deaf ears.
Residents are hoping since the rainy season has resumed, vegetation covers will help to curb rampant raiding since rustlers will not be able to move through unfavorable environments.
William Komakech the Kitgum resident district commissioner however advised the resident to defence their animals from the raiders citing that some of them are arm with locally made weapons.
He called upon the residents to be more vigilant and report the case to the UPDF deatches which are situated in most of the affected sub counties.
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