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Traders Accuse Security Forces of Extortion at Checkpoints on Moroto-Soroti Road :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Traders Accuse Security Forces of Extortion at Checkpoints on Moroto-Soroti Road

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Charles Okudi, a cattle trader from Katakwi district, expressed frustration at the emergence of numerous checkpoints along the designated routes and the officers' tendency to extort money.
Livestock being loaded on the trucks at Nadunget cattle market

Audio 5

Livestock traders operating along the Moroto-Soroti road have raised concerns about alleged extortion by security forces stationed at checkpoints along the designated routes. In May, joint security forces established two specific routes for cattle traders in the Karamoja region. 

The Moroto-Soroti road with a primary checkpoint in Nadunget for animal verification, and the Karenga to Kitgum route for traders from Kotido and Kaabong. However, livestock traders accuse officers deployed at the checkpoints of causing delays and demanding bribes to allow them to pass.

According to the traders, these officers are collecting amounts ranging from Shillings 10,000 to 20,000 per truck. Charles Okudi, a cattle trader from Katakwi district, expressed frustration at the emergence of numerous checkpoints along the designated routes and the officers' tendency to extort money. 

Okudi mentioned that sometimes they are unnecessarily delayed at the checkpoints even after providing all the required documents unless they pay an exit fee. 

//Cue in : ‘’I’m appealing security……..

Cue out:…………with those animals,"//

Traders are calling for clarification on the designated checkpoints to ensure compliance, as some unscrupulous officers have taken advantage of the situation to extort money at illegal checkpoints. They also highlighted the inconvenience caused by delays, which sometimes force them to spend the night on the way, as traveling at night is prohibited. 

Fahad Achia, another trader, lamented the negative impact on their business due to the harsh treatment received from security officers. Achia criticized the officers for impounding their purchased cows instead of apprehending the sellers prior to transactions. He emphasized the need for respectful treatment and urged security forces to understand that traders are also seeking to make a living and support their families.  

Swahili  

//Cue in: ‘’alikua muzuri kama…  

Cue out:………muntu ya ngombe ame yenda,’’.//   

Gabriel Otim, a cattle dealer from Katakwi district, revealed that village chairpersons have been issuing documents to cattle sellers in exchange for money. Otim expressed concern about unknowingly purchasing stolen cattle due to fraudulent documentation. He suggested the establishment of a single cattle market for the entire region to facilitate inspections by security personnel.

//Cue in: ‘’if we reduce these…….

Cue out:……..will not help us,"// 

Brigadier Felix Busizoori, the Deputy Commander of UPDF 3rd Division, warned village chairpersons against issuing documents for cattle in the market, emphasizing that such actions contribute to cattle theft. He ordered the traders to carry all necessary legal trade documents to avoid disruptions in their business operations. 

//Cue in; ‘’ this thing of chairman…….

Cue out:……..very very illegal,"// 

Elias Kassirabo, the Commandant of the Anti-Stock Theft Unit (ASTU), confirmed the allegations of extortion and urged traders to report any irregularities within the security system. Kassirabo advised traders to document the individuals selling them animals, including taking photographs, for easier tracking in case of suspicion of stolen cows. 

He also reminded checkpoint officers to promptly clear the traders to ensure their timely and smooth movement to their destinations.  

//Cue in: ‘’Whoever asks and……..

Cue out:………without any delays,’’//