Yesterday, the Adilang Sub-county chairpersom, Mr Muhamad Okwir, told this newspaper that more than 200 families have fled their homes in fear of being attacked by the raiders, who now target both livestock and food.
“It is true people are running away, hundreds have fled with their food stocks and animals and abandoned their homesteads due to fear,” Mr Okwir said.
He said three people have been killed by the suspected Karimojong rustlers in the past one week in different shooting incidents.
“Several people have been killed in the past two months. Four people were critically injured in the latest incident and they were rushed to Lacor hospital [in Gulu] for treatment.”
Mr Okwir said they lost 30 head of cattle and more than 40 goats in a raid on Lagwa Parish last week.
“On Wednesday, about 10 armed raiders robbed a charcoal dealer of Shs2.5m. They also took his phones and other property,” he said.
Whereas the raiders are said to now move in groups of between four and 10, Mr Okwir said the number of Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) personnel deployed on ground to counter them is very low.
Mr Emmanuel Okot, the Agago Resident District Commissioner (RDC), confirmed the incidents, stating that the raiders were targeting villages where animals are kept outside community grazing areas and kraals protected by the UPDF soldiers.
“Some communities are reluctant to keep their animals in common kraals (that are guarded by the army). Following a number of security meetings, a decision was taken and communicated that livestock owners keep their animals in designated kraals so that it is easy to deploy soldiers to guard them,” Mr Okot said.
Mr Okot disagrees with Mr Okwir on the number of UPDF soldiers on ground to protect the communities.
“The numbers of UPDF soldiers have been increased on ground and the few loopholes that have been there are rectified after having meetings,” Mr Okot said. He added: “The soldiers are doing their best to give protection in Adilang and Lapono sub-counties that lie along the border.”