LAMWO – One suspected armed South Sudanese cattle thief has been killed by Uganda security forces during an attempted cattle raid in Apiriti border post, Madi Opei Sub County in Lamwo district.
Lamwo Resident District Commissioner James Kidega confirmed the incident, saying the deceased succumbed to over bleeding due to bullet injuries he sustained during a crossfire executed to repulse the cattle thieves in the wee hours of Monday morning.
“It’s true that a joint security operation conducted by the army, police and anti-stock theft unit shot and injured one armed cattle thief as they attempted to break into a cattle kraal in Apiriti,” said Mr. Kidega.
He said local residents identified the deceased as Phillip Olee alias Lanyule, a resident of Langolojore village in Tseretanya County, Imatong state of South Sudan.
It is said the deceased has always been on espionage mission in disguise of visiting his close relatives in Lacimidik village, Lawiye-Odung parish in Madi Opei Sub County, Lamwo district.
Mr Kidega warned suspected cattle rustlers to desist from raiding saying that Uganda security agencies are maintaining surveillance at the border and are not ready to host criminals trying to destabilizing peace.
A source at the Apiriti police outpost that preferred anonymity revealed that after the crossfire and botched raid, a pursuit was conducted following blood stains of the fugitive who was discovered still alive in his hideout just a kilometer from the crime scene.
It was also reported that prior to his demise, the deceased identified his accomplice as one Lutiwang; a teacher in Tserenya County, who, on ascertaining that the deceased was bleeding profusely, managed to disarm him before fleeing away with two rifles.
The RDC said the fugitive is currently being pursued by joint security forces from Uganda and South Sudan.
Madi Opei Sub County chairperson Charles Okwera Obong said over nine herds of cattle have so far been stolen and one life lost this year alone as a result of separate incursions into the sub-county by suspected armed bandits from South Sudan.
Mr Obong said the repeated incidences are frustrating service delivery since some of the stolen livestock are those that local residents have benefitted from government programmes such as PRDP, NUSAF and operation wealth creation.
He said the local populace living in areas prone to cattle thefts are now living in fear as they believe more attacks could be coming soon and want government to provide and boost security for the locals living in areas bordering South Sudan since.
“Government needs to observe this repeated incursions as a major issue because it looks like our government is indirectly restocking South Sudanese who are stealing livestock given to the locals by central government,” said Mr. Obong.
He urged residents to be cautious in critically observing their livestock and desist from abandoning them to stray during the dry season that is currently setting in since these armed bandits take advantage of stray animals that are not attended too.
It has always been a common practice by the Acholi during the dry season to abandon their livestock to stray alone in pursuit of pasture and water and they only begin looking for their animals to be restrained as the first rains descend in March and April.
Mr. Kidega called on local residents to report suspicious movements of suspected rustlers and avail security officials with immediate information in cases of livestock raid occur.