Armed warriors have stolen 230 goats distributed by the government to reformed cattle rustlers in Lotisan sub-county in Moroto district.
The goats were distributed to the former rustlers under the improved goat project implemented by the Karamoja Affairs Minister. The project seeks to distribute 71,550 goats to beneficiaries from the nine districts in the region. Each beneficiary receives 16 Galla goats, 15 females and 1 male Galla Boer.
John Robert Adupa, the LCIII chairperson of the Lotisan sub-county, says that 10 beneficiaries in his sub-county have already lost their goats to armed warriors. He said over 150 Galla goats, 80 local breeds, and 36 cows have been stolen between June and July. Adupa said in spite of the assurances by security to recover the stolen animals, no effort has been made to trail the warriors.
He also notes that some beneficiaries received sick goats and are now struggling to get the money to buy medicine to treat the animals. Adupa urges the government to find other enterprises that can be used to transform the former warriors other than focusing only on restocking, which provides a job for the rustlers.
James Onyanga, the LCIII chairperson of Morulem sub-county in Abim district, says that despite the ongoing cordon and search operations, there seems to be no end to cattle rustling. He says that so many measures have been introduced to contain the vice in vain.
Onyanga expressed his fears that they are still grappling with insecurity and that giving the goats to people in this crisis will be a big threat. ‘’You cannot continue restocking the community when the warriors are taking away the goats, it’s a total waste of resources,’’ Onyanga said. Besides cases of theft, URN has also learned that some of the goats distributed by the government are now being sold in different markets across the region.
Remigio Achia, the Chairperson of the Karamoja parliamentary group confirmed the trade in the government goats, which he blames on the biting hunger in the region. Achia said it’s very unfortunate that the goats that would help to fight poverty and malnutrition in the households are being sold in the market as cheaply as UGX 70000. He, however, revealed that they are working hard as leaders of Karamoja to ensure that the issue of insecurity is solved so that the goats can live in a peaceful environment.
“Our people have embraced the goat project. The only challenge we are facing is food crisis versus insecurity, this is where we meet resistance but once we are done with this disaster, you will see a peaceful Karamoja progressing through the government projects,” Achia said. He also observed that some of the goats supplied were sick, which prompted other beneficiaries to sell them off so as to buy medicines for treating the rest.
However, while flagging off the distribution of the 925 goats in Loro sub-county, the Moroto Resident District Commissioner, Betty Akello Otekat, the resident district commissioner warned the beneficiaries against selling off the goats.
He warned that they will go after the seller and buyers of the goats, which are meant to change the lives of the reformed warriors.
President Museveni launched the goat project in Moroto in June this year where he acknowledged that the cattle rustlers would steal the goats from the community. He, however, noted that he will never get tired of bringing more goats into the region.