Livestock raiding in Karamoja region : Due to their believe that God in the beginning gave them all the cattle’s in the world, the karamajong still have that ancient belief in their minds.  Cattle raiding have been recurring issues in the Karamoja region, cattle raiding and gun violence has been practiced for long. Raiding cattle is an ancient traditional practice in the region, used in the past to acquire cattle for prestige and marrying many women. On the other hand, the practice has turned into a commercial venture involving businessmen from outside Karamoja. The thieves steal these animals and move them at night and sell them for as low as Shs 200,000. The cows have been raid from their neibouring communities such as Teso, Katakwi, among others, south Sudan and in Kenya and have been taken to Mbale, Kampala and even outside Uganda particularly in South Sudan and Kenya for commercial use. Though the government of Uganda has tried to launch several disbarment strategies to curb the gun violence, but they have not successfully stopped the animal raiding and food theft in the region.

The most recent disarmament campaign was launched by the Uganda army in July 2021 but it has for far failed to stop the violence in Karamoja region while has increased the allegations of human rights abuses which has led to massive killing of people with the region and also outside.  Over 20 civilians suspected raiders and security officers have been announced death due to Karamoja raiders attack last year in the region. In 2021, President Museveni together with the government of Kenya ordered the disbarment of all violence guns in Karamoja. In 2023, over 300 people families from different districts in the region, Teso ,Lango, Kumam and those in south Sudan and Kenya have been recorded to have lost their cattle’s and food destruction due to the Karamoja raid . Where case have been over 400 cows have been raid by Dec 2023

 The effects of such violence among the karamajong is charactised by death, injury, displacement and disruption of economic and social activities. This violence is still prevalent in Karamajong society, affects all communities and mostly still involves firearms. The Karamoja region still report a high level of fear of attacks by other ethnic groups (or sub-groups) the, leading to restricted freedom of movement. Despite this violence are a number of more long-term and structural factors.

The Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) have arrested a lot of people who disguised themselves as Karamajong cattle rustlers to steal cows and goats in the  Teso, Acholi and Lango sub-region, In the early 2024. According to UPDF, collaborators and criminal gangs have turned the raids to be commercial where they skin and sell the meat quickly to local community. Recently the cattle rustling was pronounced in Kotido, Nakapiripirit, Moroto districts. This has increased the poverty levels in the region.

However by the end of 2024, cattle rustling and raiding are projected to end due to the strategies the government of Uganda has laid in place , for example the government ongoing process to deploy a Livestock Identification and Traceability System (LITS) in the northeastern region of Karamoja in an attempt to solve the age-old problem of cattle rustling.   It’s to effort to deter raids and ease the monitoring, tracking and recovery of any raided or stolen livestock, According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) to introduce a tis Programme it will involve branding and tagging all livestock in Karamoja and the neibouring sub-regions of Teso, Lango, Sebei, and Bagisu. The project aims to bring peace and stability to the Karamoja region which has recently seen a recurrence of cattle rustling following almost a decade of relative peace.

Livestock raiding in Karamoja region
Livestock raiding in Karamoja region

In the same way the government has extended supportive help to the karamajong by teaching them other alternatives of survival besides cattle raiding, has promoted crop farming in the sub-region by teaching them  the local modern methods and providing them with planting materials, fertilizers , irrigations among others . on the other hand, the government has invited lot of non-organization projects for example the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) are implementing the “Fostering Sustainability and Resilience for Food Security in Karamoja Region” project to address the food insecurity challenges in the area.

Also ACTED, an international humanitarian organization, has been working to improve the livelihoods of people in the Karamoja region of Uganda. The region is the driest and poorest region of Uganda, and is particularly affected by climate change and drought, which is leading to soil depletion, environmental degradation, and poor harvests. ACTED has been working to fight food insecurity in the region by promoting sustainable agriculture practices. They have provided trainings on regenerative agriculture to help communities build resources, and have established two tree nurseries and handed them over to the communities. ACTED has also provided earthwork trainings to the beneficiaries to make use of the short rain and prevent soil erosion and flooding of homesteads. Through these interventions, ACTED has supported the Karamoja Region’s sustainable development, improving households’ food security and resilience in Nakapiripirit District.

In conclusion therefore karamajong cattle raids will end to stop by the end of this year due to the supportive measure extended in the region, according to the records on Karamoja conflicts, cattle raiding among the Karamajong is caused by shortage of food and high rate of poverty sparking them. The government has provided erratives solutions by inviting noon organization projects, has also encouraged donation findings and charity foundations to help the indigenous karamajongs from the problem of poverty which resulted to lose of lives in 2022.   As seen the government is putting more effort in changing the mindset of Karamajong youth against cattle rustling and encouraging them to engage in other lawful income generating activities.

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