AUGUST 4, 2010: Army Not Cattle-Keepers - Obbo

Army Not Cattle-Keepers - Obbo

SOURCE: New Vision

By Olandason Wanyama

Kampala — The army has stopped helping the Karimojong graze their livestock, saying it slows down military operations.

The UPDF 3rd Division spokesperson, Capt. Henry Obbo, said the soldiers were not deployed in Karamoja to graze animals. "Grazing animals and at the same time carrying out military operations stresses the officers," he said. Obbo explained that the Karimojong had brought cattle for protection but had abandoned them with the soldiers and children. He said the army had disbanded all protected kraals because the adults use them to deny the children education.

Obbo added that the men also left cattle with the army in order to raid animals from other communities. "We shall from now on not deploy forces in kraals but rather provide general security," he said. The move comes barely a week after suspected Karimojong warriors went on rampage, carrying out raids across the region.

Obbo said the forces would now deploy in the wilderness to intercept raided livestock. "We have moved from grazing animals to being a blocking force," he said. Commenting on the security situation in Karamoja, Obbo said it did not warrant cattle being brought to be closely guarded by the troops. However, some communities opposed the new arrangement.

Obbo said creating communal kraals around villages was an individual initiative, but urged that all animals should be in the settlements.

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