Atiak Sub-County leaders in Amuru District have tasked pastoralists to fence their grazing land to avoid their livestock crossing to community gardens.
The Sub-County Council resolved to compel the pastoralists to register all their animals and fence the land they have rented from the community for grazing but the pastoralists have not heeded the directive.
Samuel Akera, the LCIII Chairperson said the pastoralists are wandering with an estimated 10,000 animals in the four parishes of Pachilo, Pupwonya, Parwaca and Okidi causing devastation to crops like cassava, rice, groundnuts and maize among others.
Akera says that they have impounded 28 heads of cattle for destroying crop fields, adding that the animals were sneaked into the Sub-County without notifying the leaders.
In December 2020, over 200 pastoralists invaded six villages of Kololo Parish in Lakang Sub-County and grazed on 10,000 acres of land, a sugar factory project area belonging to the Government and Madhivani Group of Companies.
It prompted President Yoweri Museveni to issue a directive to Police backed by the military to oversee the eviction of pastoralists from Government and community land, but leaders say the directive was not implemented giving leeway to the cattle keepers to continue grazing with impunity.
34 Field Force Unit – FFU personnel and 184 Uganda People’s Defense Forces – UPDF soldiers who were deployed in the area also abandoned their placement citing poor working conditions like lack of clean water and harsh weather.
Last week, Labongo Akwang sub-county leaders in Kitgum district issued a two-day ultimatum to pastoralists to vacate their area. This also prompted the area MP, Polly Philip Okin Ojara to rally the community to hunt down the cows like wild animals to end the pastoralists’ impunity.
But the UPDF 4th Division Spokesperson, Lt. Hassan Ahmad Kato argued the pastoralists have been gazing in Acholi because they are allowed by the local community to rent their land for grazing their animals.
Leaders in Acholi are also concerned that the pastoralists are a threat to the security of the people in the post-conflict community as many of them are grazing armed with guns, implying high government officials are behind them.