Turkana pastoralists have been accused of killing one person and raiding 200 head of cattle in Kaabong District, Karamoja sub region, the Kaabong district authorities have claimed.

Mr Samson Lokeris, the MP for Dodoth East County, said unspecified number of armed pastoralists from Kenya attacked Lodwar Trading Centre last Friday, killing one person.

According to Mr Lokeris, the pastoralists have become a security threat to the people of Kaabong even when they are freely allowed to graze their animals in the district.

Whenever weather conditions are harsh on the Kenyan side, Turkana pastoralists graze from the Ugandan side with big caravans of large herds of cattle mixed with goats, sheep, donkeys and camels grazing in the areas of Kaabong.

“We have been accommodating them but now they are turning their guns on us,” Mr Lokeris said.

On the hunt
The Kaabong Resident District Commissioner, Mr Simon Lolim, confirmed the incident, saying it was sad but the “army and other security agencies and Turkana kraal elders were hunting for the raiders”.

“We shall get them and they will be brought to book,” he said.
Mr Emmanuel Immana, the Turkana peace ambassador, also confirmed the incident but downplayed the number of animals raided, saying it was only 150 cattle, promising that authorities from Turkana County would organise a meeting with the leaders of Kaabong and the pastoralists grazing in the area next week to address the situation.

Speaking during the 34th UPDF anniversary celebrations, commonly known as Tarehe Sita last year, President Museveni said he would not tolerate cross-border cattle raids from armed pastoralists.
“If the Turkana come here, they will stay here horizontally. Even the Pokot will face the same horizontal arrangement,” Mr Museveni said.

Mr Museveni told the neighbouring countries to disarm people illegally holding guns, saying it was genocidal for pastoral communities to keep guns.

“Keeping guns in the hands of uneducated people is genocide. I, therefore, appeal to the neighbouring countries to disarm them,” he said.

Karamoja security

Cross-border raids: The Pokot and Turkana armed warriors from Kenya and Toposa from South Sudan conduct cross-border raids to rustle cattle from the Karamajong.

Disarmed: In 2004, the UPDF launched a disarmament programme in Karamoja. Ever since, it had recovered at least 32,000 guns from the region which was infamous for rustling by armed Karimojong youth.