Residents in eastern district of Katakwi have blamed the district security team for the worrying security situation in the area, which fuels increasing cases of theft of their animals.
This was raised on Sunday 13th, October 2019 during an open dialogue on security matters and development in the area, held at Olilim trading center, Palam sub county.
In the meeting chaired by the area Member of Parliament [MP] Peter Ogwang, locals raised complaints that the security in the area is wanting in a way that, the recently recruited Local Defence Unit [LDU] personnel have been withdrawn from the locality.
According to them, the withdrawal of LDUs from the area has acted as opening gates wide for the cattle rustlers.
It was also revealed to the ears of the two MPs [Peter Ogwang and Violet Akurut- district Woman MP] that even the few LDUs who are available are guarding the army training school in Olilim.
The Resident District Commissioner [RDC] Michael Bwalatum also confirmed to the ears of the MPs that his office has received information that the few LDU left in Olilim detach are instead guarding the school of artillery in Olilim.
The deputy commander for Anti Stock Theft Unit (ASTU) Katakwi, SP Nabende Musa, who represented the Police and UPDF in the dialogue, explained to the public that LDU’s were withdrawn from Olilim and were taken for further training.
Nabende also explained to the residents that the security team in the district will sit down and derive measures on how to scrutinize the security.
According to a record of complaints by the locals in Ngariam, Palam and Magoro sub counties, Katakwi District has lost 67 cattle between February and September this year to thieves believed to be from Karamoja.
The LC3 Chairperson for Palam sub county, Emmanuel Ojirot, revealed that out of a tune of 115 animals that were stolen, only 48 were recovered and 67 of them still at large until date.
Failure of the Nabilatuk resolution
The Woman Member of Parliament [MP] for Katakwi district, Viola Akurut-Adome said that the challenge that has led to the increasing cases of animal theft at the areas along the Teso- Karamoja border line is the failure by leaders to adhere to the Nabilaituk resolution of 2012.
The Nabilatuk Resolution is an initiative by leaders in Teso and Karamoja to stem livestock theft in the region. The resolution that was reached in 2013 requires anyone found with stolen animals to double the number of the animals and include an additional animal for the elders and peace committee members.
The Resolution also mandates security agencies to impound all animals in a Kraal once stolen animals are cited there. The Nabilatuk Resolution also extends the burden of compensation for stolen animals to the immediate neighbors or relatives of the suspect in case they don’t have the required animals.
During the initiation period of the resolution, this was done to discourage communities from accommodating rustlers within their localities. The resolution, which was implemented through collaboration with the Community Peace Committees, facilitated the quick recovery of stolen animals, eliminated impunity and lawlessness among other vices.
Following a query by the Commissioner of Parliament, Peter Ogwang who is also the MP for the affected area, it was disclosed that however much Karamojongs continued to practice theft, there are also different teams of people within the affected communities who act as collaborators.
The Resident District Commissioner [RDC] for Katakwi, Micheal Bwalatum told the MPs and the locals present in the dialogue that of recent, security operations headed by his office netted some community members who were caught [in the act] guiding Karamojong thieves in Ngariam sub county.
The MP [Peter Ogwang] yesterday appealed to members of the community to be the guardians and ambassadors of peace in the area.
Ogwang asked community members to help security forces to identify the said who are letting down the development of the district.
“We may be accusing the security teams for their weaknesses, but we must also accept the truth that we are harboring wrong elements amongst us!” said Ogwang