Uganda’s army said Monday it had killed 29 armed cattle raiders in the porous northeastern region bordering South Sudan and Kenya, in a military operation which has entered its third month.
“There have been isolated cases of contacts and clashes between the UPDF (the Ugandan army) and the warriors. In all these contacts we have killed 29, the most recent being Friday January 19, where we killed one (raider),” army spokesman Captain Albert Arinaitwe told AFP.
Arinaitwe said most of those killed were from the Jie and Dodoth pastoral communities, but that the number may also include ethnic Turkana from neighbouring Kenya who were making increased incursions to steal cattle in Uganda.
He said 12 weapons had been recovered during the ongoing operation, and numerous arrests made.
“On December 15, more than 15 people were presented before court. Some were convicted and imprisoned depending on the offenses from three years, five and another up to 15 years because he was found with an illegal firearm and used the same gun to kill a person,” he said.
Arinaitwe said Ugandan army officials had held more than nine meetings since the operation began in November with local leaders, lawmakers, and Kenyan government officials on how to tackle cross-border cattle rustling.
Pastoral communities in the region often graze their cattle across borders. Kenyan herders are allowed to do so in Uganda in the dry season provided they are not armed.