Three village chairpersons in Kotido have been apprehended for unlawfully providing letters to cattle traders at Kanawat cattle market.
The detained chairpersons are Francis Chulo, the LCI representative of Naoyakiong village in West Division, Samuel Amedo, LCI of Lodoket village in Loletio sub-county, and Lopusakou Loupe, the LCI of Areanch village in Napumpum sub-county.
The Animal Checkpoint Squad of the Anti-Stock Theft Unit arrested them on Thursday while they were distributing letters to individuals selling their animals to cattle traders within the market.
According to Michael Longole, the Mt Moroto Regional Police Spokesperson, the arrests were made in response to concerns raised by cattle traders who were experiencing losses when they discovered they had purchased stolen cows.
In light of widespread incidents of commercialized cattle rustling, Longole stated that joint security forces have been vigilant in cattle markets, verifying the proper documentation for each animal brought to the market, including an LCI letter issued by the village chairpersons.
Longole explained that the village chairpersons were engaging in the unauthorized practice of selling letters to cattle dealers within the market without verifying the animals’ origins and rightful owners.
He emphasized that some cattle rustlers either bribe village chairpersons to obtain letters for stolen animals or convince chairpersons to issue letters within the markets without confirming whether the animals are stolen.
Longole further emphasized that, as per standard procedure, LCI Chairpersons should issue animal letters from the villages where the animals originate and not within the market. On Monday, concerns were raised by cattle buyers in Karamoja who had been victimized by chairpersons issuing documents to sellers in exchange for money, resulting in the unintentional purchase of stolen cattle due to fraudulent documentation.
The joint security forces strongly condemned this illegal practice and vowed to apprehend all individuals involved in such criminal activities. Since July 2021, a total of 1,661 stolen livestock have been recovered by the joint security forces from various markets across Karamoja Sub Region.