MADI/OKOLLO – Police have ordered the nomadic cattle keepers known as Balaalo out of the newly created Madi-Okollo District in northern Uganda following reports that they are behind rising conflicts in the area.
The decision was taken during a meeting attended by police, district leaders and the Balaalo on Thursday, November 7 in Alinyiri village, Ocea Parish in Rigbo Sub county.
The security team members present were the RPC West Nile, RISO West Nile, Brigade Commander, Rigional CID officer, Police PRO West Nile, UPDF PRO West Nile, DPC, DISO and RDC Madi Okollo District, Local Council leaders from LC3 down to LC1, Elders, Land Committee members and Opinion leaders.
“It was then resolved by the security team that the Balaalo cattle keepers should leave the area immediately within 7days as per the Presidential directive which was passed sometime back, and in this exercise corruption be avoided,” a statement issued by West Nile region police spokesperson Josephine Angucia reads in part.
The decision followed a November 1, 2019 incident where it’s alleged that Joachim Eguma, the LC1 chairman Alinyiri Village, Ocea Parish, Rigbo Sub county and two other locals were seriously assaulted by the Balaalo Cattle keepers.
Thursday’s meeting also resolved that such incidences which are criminal in nature be reported and managed by police; No movement of animals at night and that the local leaders need to co-operate in identifying the cattle keepers as sending them away will be solely by the security.
“Mob justice and lawlessness must be avoided and those in authority be respected. A new army detach was established in Rigbo Sub county so as to reinforce police in securing the area. RPC West Nile gave out police contacts to members of the community and advised them to report threats, incidences, crime, accidents, wrong people to police for proper and quick management,” the police statement adds.
Apart from the Balaalo conflicts, it was realised that there were elements of tribalism between Lugbara and the Madi, land wrangles, animals destroying crops, theft of animals, mob justice, ignorance of the law, lack of respect to the authorities and others.
“RISO advised them to avoid tribalism and segregation of any nature. That they should learn to coexist peacefully in order to attain development; The local leaders were advised to have regular security meetings in order to minimise conflicts in the community,” the statement adds.