KAMPALA – Senior officers in Uganda Police Force have started investigating reports of rampant cattle thefts in the savannah region. The task started with a meeting between a team led by the Deputy Inspector General of Police Sabiiti Muzeeyi and police commanders in the region purposed to brainstorm strategies to fight the theft.
The meeting held on Thursday in Luweero town was attended by Sabiiti, accompanied by the Chief Political Commissar of Uganda Police Force Asan Kasingye, the Director of Criminal Intelligence and Investigations Grace Akullo, Director of Operations AIGP Edward Ochom and other commissioners of police. They were joined by the Resident District Commissioners and LCV chairpersons.
The move follows a directive issued by President Yoweri Museveni during the Heroes day celebration on June 9, for investigations into the reported thefts. The matter had been brought to the President’s attention by Hajji Edris Sseddunga, the chairperson of the Uganda War Veterans Association.
According to Sseddunga, many of the veterans who were compensated by the government used the package to buy cattle which however has been stolen by unscrupulous people. Records show that up to 60 head of cattle have been stolen in Nakasongola district since this year began mainly in the areas of Nabiswera, Nakitoma and Lwabyata, among others. In one of the incidences, over 30 heads of cattle were intercepted at Kasiiso-Luweero road by police.
The meeting heard that cattle thefts have persisted because those who are arrested are released by police and the Courts of Law without trial of convictions. There were also complaints that the public cannot volunteer information because of the fear that some of the policemen connive with the thieves and that sometimes, operations against cattle thefts are thwarted when big shots in the government intimidate the officers into releasing impounded vehicles with stolen cattle.
However, the police commanders told the DIGP that they were constrained by lack of fuel, personnel and vehicles to follow up the suspects. Sabiiti reportedly directed the security chiefs and local leaders to report to him directly in case they are intimidated by a government official after arresting cattle thieves.
Kasingye said that they have agreed to beef up operations and take extra security measures to tackle the animal thefts in the area. He however declined to divulge details about the measures.
Sam Kigula, the LCV chairperson of Nakasongola district who lost some of his heads of cattle is optimistic that the interventions will curb the crime.
Luweero Resident District Commissioner Phoebe Namulindwa said that they also notified the police chief about routes and markets in Kampala where the stolen cattle are sold.