Herdsman tending cows at Wabbale village in Nakasongola town
Pastoralists in Nakasongola district have resolved to hire watchmen armed with arrows and bows to fight rampant animal thefts ahead of the Christmas season. According to the Police Crime report 2020, Nakasongola ranked the seventh leading district in cattle thefts with 111 cases.
District authorities claim that between 16 to 20 cows are now stolen each day in Nakasongola and sold in Kampala city.
The latest incident was registered last week when 17 head of cattle were stolen from Nakitoma sub-county. There are fears among pastoralists and local leaders that animal theft might escalate in the district ahead of the festive season.
Now, Samuel Butagasa, the Nakitoma Sub county LC V councilor, says sub-county leaders and pastoralists held meetings where they agreed on some measures to curb animal thefts. He says that during the meeting, they advised the pastoralists to tighten the security of their animals at night and work with village chairpersons to patrol their communities and apprehend suspected animal thieves.
John Kyapapa, a pastoralist in Kyamukama village in Nakitoma sub-county, says they have decided to hire watchmen armed with arrows and bows to guard their animals against thieves at night. Kyapapa says that he has personally hired one man and he is looking for two others to guard his animals to avoid losses resulting from theft.
He says that the pastoralists are working with sub-county leaders to scrutinize the watchmen before they hire them. Jonathan Akweteireho, the Nakasongola Deputy Resident District Commissioner, says that the fight against animal theft starts with pastoralists and encouraged each of them to find a way of protecting his or her animals.
He explained that as District Security Committee, they have banned transportation of animals beyond 7 pm and intensified checkpoints across the districts to ensure stolen animals are intercepted. In Nakaseke, the Resident District Commissioner, Fred Bamwine, says that they are also enforcing the ban on the movement of animals past 6 pm to stop the thefts.
Bamwine says that all traders who transport animals must get letters from LC 1 Chairpersons and veterinary officers as a measure to curb thefts. Isah Ssemwogerere, the Savannah Regional Police Spokesperson, says that Police have already intensified patrols and arrested some suspected animal thieves ahead of the festive season.
Sheikh Ramadhan Mulindwa, the Kadhi Luwero Muslim District, says that they have also resolved to register and issue licenses to slaughter officers so as to kick out imposters who work with animal thieves.