Uganda People’s Defence Forces-UPDF officers in Nakasongola district are on the spot for disregarding the ban on the night movement of animals. Last year, Nakasongola District Security Committee banned the movement of livestock past 7 pm in part of the measures to curb the rampant theft of animals and the spread of Foot and Mouth Disease.
However, the District Police Commander, Phillip Mukasa accuses some UPDF officers of disregarding the ban making it difficult for the police to enforce it. He cites ten truckloads of cattle belonging to the unnamed colonel, which were transported from the district towards Gulu district at night this week under the protection of armed UPDF soldiers.
Police officers who spoke to URN on condition of anonymity said that they fear stopping the trucks escorted by soldiers for fear of gunfire exchange. Local leaders have criticized the UPDF soldiers for disregarding the ban, saying they may be behind the rampant cattle thefts.
Rogers Bwanga, the Nakasongola District Speaker, says that even in situations where the cattle rightfully belong to the officers their drivers may load stolen cattle on the trucks along the way. Bwanga has asked President Yoweri Museveni and the Commander of Land Forces to prevail on the officers.
Samuel Tingira, the Vice-Chairperson of Nakasongola district, says that apart from theft, there are fears that unvaccinated and infected animals could be transported at night.
Brigadier Flavia Byekwaso, the UPDF Spokesperson has advised the district leadership to write a formal complaint to the UPDF leadership naming the implicated officers.
Recently, pastoralists resorted to hiring watchmen armed with arrows and bows to guard their animals against rampant thefts.
District authorities claim that between 16 to 20 cows are now stolen each day in Nakasongola.