By Spy Uganda
President Yoweri Museveni last evening met a group of Karachunas from Kotido at the State lodge in Baralegi as he concluded his week-long camp. The president camped all week to specifically tackle the issue of cattle rustling.
General Museveni offered amnesty to those who are still engaged in cattle rustling. “I encourage other young people who are being used in this criminality to make the bold decision to come forward and surrender before the state engages with them in fighting this time around”, he said.
“We shall have a follow up discussion and support them in different areas of interest in becoming agents of mindset change through wealth creation”, the President added.
Cattle rustling or raiding is no longer a cultural practice, but a form of organised crime committed by international criminal networks. It is facilitated by an increasing proliferation of weapons, according to a study by ENACT transnational organised crime researchers at the Institute for Security Studies.
‘Traditionally, small-scale stock theft was a way of balancing community wealth and power, but crime and capitalism have commercialised this practice, making it a significant economic threat,’ the researchers say. The practice has caused many deaths among rural communities and security forces in Uganda, Kenya and South Sudan.
Cattle raiding in 2017 and 2018 was characterised by high-intensity conflicts that left dozens killed or maimed, and negatively affected human security and development in the region. In Kenya’s West Pokot and Elgeyo-Marakwet counties, 30 people were killed during the first five months of 2019. This followed what the authorities called conflict – but what was in fact cattle rustling carried out as a criminal enterprise.
In Uganda, authorities recovered 400 head of cattle stolen by Turkana rustlers from Kenya responsible for increased cattle rustling at the end of 2019, the death of several people and the theft of thousands of head of cattle.