Manpower Crisis Stifles Police Operation Against Rustlers In Acholi

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The Police in the Aswa River Region have blamed the persistent incursion of suspected Karimojong rustlers in Acholi Sub-region on the limited numbers of Anti Stock Theft Unit personnel manning the porous areas. The region has lately witnessed repeated attacks from suspected armed Karimojong cattle rustlers mainly targeting livestock in Agago and Kitgum districts that border the Karamoja region.

The Aswa River Region Police Commander, Damali Nachuha admitted in an interview with Uganda Radio Network that the manpower crisis has affected their operations in the areas being invaded by the rustlers. She noted that out of the 26 sub-counties in Agago district, the police are present in only a few of them that are persistently being attacked by the rustlers.

On this note, Nachuha says she has written to the Police headquarters requesting more human and nonhuman resources to fill the gaps hindering their operations in porous areas that the warriors frequently use.

Nachuha however noted that the police have been working closely with the Uganda People’s Defence Forces deployed in Agago district to help in manning security and the prosecution of suspected rustlers.

Last week, the Deputy Inspector General of Police Maj. Gen Geoffrey Katsigazi Tumusiime told journalists in Gulu City that the Police are looking at how to adjust their deployment in Agago and Kitgum districts in response to the attacks. Katsigazi says the deployment of police personnel would back the already existing UPDF personnel in the region to scale down attacks by suspected Karimojong warriors.

The attacks have mostly affected the sub-counties of Adilang, Lira Kato, Lapono, Paimol, Lai Muto, and Omiya Pacwa. In Kitgum District, the border areas of Orom and Namukora have also registered similar attacks where the perpetrators loot livestock and food crops.

Alexander Okidi, the LCV councillor of Lira Kato Sub County in Agago District told Uganda Radio Network Monday that the current raids in the region have turned into a lucrative business. He says the majority of the cattle being looted end up on the market to businessmen who deal in livestock and urged security to beef up intelligence if the vice is to be curbed.

According to Okidi, the persistent raids have affected farming in areas near the Karamoja border since locals fear being attacked in their gardens. Recently the army deployed its elite soldiers under the Special Forces Command (SFC) and intensified operations against the suspected Karimonjong Warriors in the mountainous areas of Kitgum and Agago bordering the Karamoja Region.

Statistics from local leaders in the Agago district indicate that attacks by suspected armed Karimojong warriors accounted for 42 deaths and 62 severe injuries of locals while 1,861 cattle and 3,850 goats were looted between 2022 and April this year.

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