Police block pastoralists meet as drought bites Karamoja


Kotido: Police authorities in Kotido district have blocked pastoralists meeting organised by a group of concerned youth, protesting the alleged torture of Jie herdsmen who had crossed to Abim in search for water and pasture.
The Friday meeting sought to discuss the alleged harassment of the prowling pastoralists grazing in the neighbouring Abim district.

Mr Peter Lote, one of the youth leaders told Daily Monitor that several Jie pastoralists grazing in Abim district were beaten by unidentified residents of Abim and asked the authorities to intervene before it’s too late.
It’s against this background that they called for a meeting to discuss with the district leadership of Kotido and come up with measures to protect the pastoralists.

“We had invited all the district leaders including the security officers and the Member of Parliament of Jie County but to our surprise we saw armed Police deployed at the venue and chasing away our people,” Mr Lote said.
Mr Samuel Akorio another youth leader wondered why the district leaders of Kotido have failed to intervene to help the pastoralists. They threatened to defend themselves if Police do not stop the people of Abim from attacking the pastoralists from Kotido district.

Mr. Allan Tugiire the regional Police commander of Kidepo region confirmed blocking the youth meeting, saying the youth didn’t notify the Police on time and insisted that the meeting was illegal. He asked the youth to follow the law and called for calm.

“We couldn’t allow them to hold such a meeting because it was illegal under public and management act, “Mr Tugiire said.

The Member of Parliament for Jie County Mr Bildad Adome described the Police action as unfortunate, saying the meeting would have worked as a weapon to calm down the angry Jie youth who wanted to take the law in their hands.
“Even my office is closed and guarded by Police because that’s where the meeting was scheduled to take place,” the MP said.

Mr Adome said, a lot needed to be done to calm the youth of Kotido and Abim who were at the verge of causing conflict. Abim district council has since resolved to block any Jie pastoralist from entering to Abim district.

Two weeks ago, at the meeting in Otuke district, the district LCV chairperson of Abim Mr Jimmy Ocero said the council of Abim sat and passed a resolution to evict all the Jie Karamojong pastoralists grazing in Abim accusing the pastoralists of raping, stealing food and beating people, a claim the leadership of Kotido dismissed as baseless.
The dry spell in the county has pushed pastoralists on the edge and forced them to travel long distances in search for water and pasture. Some pastoralists have crossed from Karamoja to Lango sub-region and some parts of Acholi-sub-region. The Kenyan pastoralists have also crossed to Uganda, searching for water and pasture.

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