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Security Bans Night Movements Along Kotido-Moroto Road

Security agencies in Kotido district have banned night movements along the Kotido-Moroto road following a resurgence of armed conflicts. Statistics from the office of the Resident District Commissioner indicate that within the last 30 days at least 42 people in Kotido district have been killed by the armed cattle rustlers or during a gunfire exchange with security forces in the area.
A teenage boy grazing sheep in Kotido Municipality. Photo by Emmy Daniel Ojara

Audio 5

Security agencies in Kotido district have banned night movements along the Kotido-Moroto road following a resurgence of armed conflicts.

Ambrose Onoria, the Kotido Resident District Commissioner (RDC) told URN in an interview that the resolution followed an increasing spate of attacks along the highway by armed cattle rustlers. He says movements along the road are only allowed between eight in the morning and four in the evening whether on foot or automotive.  

He says this is aimed at curbing attacks and killings by the armed cattle rustlers who reportedly take advantage of the night to lay ambushes along the road as they execute their missions of raiding cattle from the area.   

The Kotido-Moroto road also connects Amuria, Abim, Agago and Otuke among other districts as well as the Kidepo Valley National Game Park in Karenga district. Currently, users are being advised to use the Abim-Kotido stretch of the road which is considered safe.   

Statistics from the office of the RDC indicate that within the last 30 days at least 42 people in Kotido district have been killed by the armed cattle rustlers or during a gunfire exchange with security forces in the area. The victims include cattle keepers, local leaders, security personnel, and the Jie, Dodoth, and a handful of Turkana cattle rustlers. 

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Brigadier Stephanie Mugerwa, the Fifth Division Commander, where the area is located says that the army has intensified operations along the road and hotspot areas adding that the disarmament exercise is also on-going.    

Brig. Mugerwa has however faulted leaders in the area for late reporting of the presence of the armed warriors in their area, something he says hampers their responses and operations. 

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Christine Akello, the Kotido Municipality Kraal leader, says that women and children are the most affected by the insecurity. She asked fellow women to spearhead the process of restoring peace in the areas.   

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Kotido Municipality Mayor, Peter Irar Abrahams, instead blamed the insecurity in the area on the porous border with Kenya adding that the security forces should intensify deployments along the border.  

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Martin Oryem, the Karenga Wildlife Conservation Area Assistant Warden, says that the insecurity in the area affects tourism in the Kidepo Valley National Game Park.

Francis Lukwiya, the Secretary-General of the Acholi Religious Leaders Peace Initiative (ARPI), a consortium of religious leaders from the Acholi Sub Region, has embarked on summoning the leaders of the Jie community for dialogues with the affected community in order to bring peace and harmony.

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Cattle rustling had drastically reduced in the Karamoja region until the situation started escalating in 2019.   For more than a decade starting in 2001, the Uganda government carried out a massive disarmament exercise in Karamoja.