Pastoralists in Lamwo district evade eviction

Lamwo, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Pastoralists in Lamwo district are conniving with residents to evade eviction. The eviction exercise started on March 22 in Palabek Gem sub-county, however, the pastoralists have abandoned their known kraals and moved their animals to the bush to evade the eviction.

Sisto Oyet, the LCV chairperson of Lamwo district says the community’s support for the pastoralists has also slowed the eviction exercise.

Oyet reveals that a week ago when the security team went to evict one of the pastoralists, the residents in Nyimur sub county said the pastoralist relates well with the community and should not be evicted.

He says although the security did not evict the pastoralist then, he will eventually have to go because his kraal does not have all the requirements that qualify him to stay.

Denis Akaka, the Prime Minister of the Palabek Cultural Institution says that at least six pastoralists left their known locations to dodge the eviction team.

Akaka says in Palabek gem in Anaka sub-county, four pastoralists escaped eviction by crossing to Palaro sub county in Gulu district.

Akaka also says the Clan Chief of Paracele, wrote to the District Police Commander Lamwo, claiming that the pastoralist in Palabek Nyimur sub-county is living amicably with the community since 2018 and should not be evicted.

David Ongom Mudong, the police spokesperson for Aswa River region says although the eviction is ongoing in all the areas occupied by the pastoralists, the eviction committee is being challenged by the tricks of the pastoralists.

In November, President Museveni in a letter to Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja ordered the eviction of all pastoralists in Northern Uganda, saying they are illegal migrants whose animals remain a persistent problem to the farming communities in the north, especially in Acholi sub-region.

In January, the State Minister for Internal Affairs Gen. David Muhoozi launched a phased exercise to evict illegal and non-compliant pastoralists from Acholi, Lango, and West Nile sub-regions.

Codenamed “Safisha Kilimo Na Mifugo”, the operation was expected to last three months, to ensure a safe and lawful eviction of all defiant pastoralists from the region. Each phase was scheduled to last two weeks under normal circumstances, and a maximum of a month if the two weeks did not suffice. The whole exercise was therefore to end in two months.

However in East Acholi, the exercise has been affected by some locals, especially landowners, ganging up in support of the pastoralists, and some of the pastoralists hiding during the eviction.

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