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Last Updated: Monday, 6 October, 2003, 13:44 GMT 14:44 UK
Karamojong anger over cattle seizures
By Nathan Etengu
BBC, Moroto, Uganda

Colonel Guti speaking to the Karamojong
The Karamojong watched gloomily as they cattle were taken
Uganda's Karamojong elders have expressed anger and vowed to hunt down cattle raiders after the government confiscated 1,238 head of cattle from them.

Some of the cattle confiscated from the Bokora Karamojong will be given out as compensation for the lives of 21 people killed by Karimojong warriors in Katakwi district on 20 September.

Others will be used to compensate the lives of four Karamojong local defence unit personnel killed by the warriors in an operation mounted by the army to impound stolen cattle.

The commanding officer of the Uganda People's Defence Force, third infantry division, Colonel Andrew Guti, supervised the recovery of the cattle to be given out as compensation.

He said that 60 head of cattle would be paid to the family of each of the people killed by the Karamojong.

Gnashed teeth

Colonel Guti said that more cattle would be confiscated from the ethnic Pian Karamojong in Nakapiripirit to make the required number of 2,057.

The pastoralists grinned and gnashed their teeth as they watched the counting process.

Colonel Guti, however, blamed them for allowing wrong elements to hide amongst them - he said that the warriors who killed people in Katakwi district drove the stolen cattle through the grazing area where the majority of the pastoralists kept their own herds.

Colonel Guti also reminded the Karamojong that the confiscation of their cattle was a fulfilment of an accord they struck with the leadership of the Teso region in which it was agreed that 60 head of cattle would be paid for the life of every person killed by the Karamojong in the Teso region.

He said that the "Magoro accord" was sealed way back in 1998.

Gloomy faced

The exercise to recover the cattle for compensation was held near Iriiri trading centre, about 2km from the border between Moroto and Katakwi district.

Colonel Guti, himself a Karamojong from Bokora county, said that some of the cattle would also be used as compensation for the cattle stolen by the Karimojong from Katakwi district in three separate incidents.

The confiscated cows
The Karamojong use cattle as a store of wealth
He told the gloomy faced pastoralists that the government had directed the Karamojong as a community to compensate for the lives of the people killed and the cattle stolen by the warriors.

The cattle were picked from a large herd of about 4,000 confiscated by the army from the pastoralists.

The actual warriors who committed the offence were, however, not apprehended.

Minister ambushed

Colonel Guti said that he would hunt down the suspects until they were apprehended and warned that pastoralists who failed to expose cattle raiders would continue to suffer the consequences.

Meanwhile the State Minister for economic monitoring, John Omwony Ojwok, on Friday escaped unhurt after suspected Karamojong warriors ambushed a vehicle he was travelling in.

Mr Ojwok told me that a police escort was shot and injured in the jaws and chest.

He said that the ambush occurred around midday at a notorious spot where the warriors have killed many people in highway ambushes.

Mr Ojwok said that his convoy entered an area where two rival Karamojong warriors were fighting over raided cattle.




SEE ALSO:
30 killed in Uganda cattle raid
21 Sep 03  |  Africa
Uganda army kills 13 herders
13 May 02  |  Africa
Country profile: Uganda
13 Aug 03  |  Country profiles


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