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Pastoralist Stranded With Cattle After Fake Land Deal :: Uganda Radionetwork

Pastoralist Stranded With Cattle After Fake Land Deal

Stephen Odong Latek, the Amuru Resident District Commissioner says that the herdsman was duped in the land deal by a fraudster who promised to help him acquire the land.
A man herds his cattle in the disputed Apaa land bordering Amuru and Adjumani Districts in November 2017.
Amuru District leaders and residents on Friday chased away a pastoralist with more than 200 cattle from their area over the illegal acquisition of their land. The yet-to-be-identified pastoralist had reportedly liaised with a land broker to hire 400 hectares of land in Kololo Parish in Lakang Sub-county for grazing his cattle.

Early this week, the pastoralist transported the long-horned Ankole cattle from Bweyale Town council in Kiryandongo District to the purported land.

Anthony Oringa, the Lakang Sub-County Chairperson however said that angry residents protested the presence of the cattle in their area on Thursday before driving them away along with the caretakers.

Oringa says although the businessman had approached the sub-county officials on his plans to hire the land, the land brokers he had dealt with misled him.

“People protested yesterday and chased away the herdsmen and the animals from their area because there wasn’t any agreement entered regarding the 400 hectares of land. The man is now stranded with his animals,” says Oringa.

Oringa also faulted some of the local leaders in the area for mobilizing the residents to drive away the cattle and the herdsmen.

He adds that the herdsman has proposed to temporarily take the cattle to a colleague, another high-ranking army officer who has fenced his farm but locals have refused to allow the animals to pass through their area.

“The cattle have been driven out of the village to a nearby stream where they are currently being kept by the caretakers. The locals have sworn not to let the animals in their area,” He says.

Stephen Odong Latek, the Amuru Resident District Commissioner told URN in an interview on Friday that the herdsman was duped in the land deal by a fraudster who promised to help him acquire the land. 

He says whereas there were genuine documents for the cattle transported, the businessman had no document regarding the land on which he wanted to fatten the animals prompting locals and leaders to intercept the herds of cattle.

“The person who purportedly hired out land to the herdsman acted fraudulently. The cattle keeper brought the animals on account that he had acquired the land but he met resistance because the land in question didn’t exist,” says Latek.

Latek notes that the person who duped the cattle keeper has since come out to clear the air saying he erred in hiring out the land. It is unclear how much the pastoralist had paid for the land in question.

According to Latek, they have given two options for the cattle keeper to drive away his animals to where they were transported and get back his money or show proof of fenced land with a water source available to keep the animals.

The development comes amidst a directive issued by President Museveni last year barring pastoralists from grazing animals on land that hasn’t been fenced, has no water sources, and is under dispute by the community. 

Thousands of cattle belonging to pastoralists have in the past months been evicted from the region following eviction exercises launched in January this year by the State Minister for Internal Affairs Gen. David Muhoozi. 

The eviction operation was conducted on government lands and disputed community areas in Acholi, Lango, West Nile, and Teso Sub-regions.

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