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Monday, September 13, 1999 Published at 13:24 GMT 14:24 UK

World: Africa

Hundreds die in Uganda cattle raid

By East Africa correspondent Martin Dawes

About 400 people are said to have been massacred in a revenge attack by tribesman in Uganda.

The killings, which are being confirmed by Ugandan military sources, took place over the weekend in a remote part of north-eastern Uganda.

Warriors from the Karimojong attacked a rival clan who they blame for killing an estimated 140 people a month ago.

A large number of cattle was stolen.

Climate of impunity

A church worker who went to the scene said that injured people, among them women and children, had been dumped in bushes and left for dead.

High death tolls as a result of cattle raids are common throughout Eastern Africa.

In remote border areas tribes, which are often well-armed, will fight to control scarce grazing and watering places.

In the Ugandan incident, an army helicopter gave chase and fired on the raiders.

But more often than not, violent raids are undertaken in the knowledge that state retribution is unlikely.

The remoteness of the locations, poor communications and political patronage for the major tribes creates a climate of impunity in which the philosophy of an eye for an eye is allowed to flourish.

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