Suspected South Sudanese Cattle Rustler Shot Dead in Uganda.

An armed cattle keeper walks with his cows during a seasonal migration of cattle for grazing near Tonj South Sudan Feb. 16 2020.An armed cattle keeper walks with his cows during a seasonal migration of cattle for grazing near Tonj South Sudan Feb. 16 2020.

A group of armed men suspected to be from South Sudan on Friday night raided a village in Midigo Town Council, Yumbe District in Uganda allegedly with the aim of stealing cattle in the area.

Gasper Onzima, the Local Council 3 (LC3) chairperson for Midigo Town Council, said the gunmen upon entry into Uganda, abducted one of the residents identified as Muhammad Abega and instructed him to take them to different homes with animals such as cattle, goats, and chicken.

Captain Ahmad Hassan Kato, the Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) Public Relations officer for the fourth division confirmed the incident and said “four cattle raiders suspected to be South Sudanese carrying goats and three chickens came into contact with our forces along Kandiyo-Tululu road in Tunzia village, Mocha Parish, in Midigo Town Council.”

“One of the four was put out of action and an SMG gun with number 1961MQ0238 with 26 rounds of ammunition was recovered while the three escaped back to South Sudan,” he added. “We appeal to the community of Kerwa, Midigo, and Kochi sub-counties in Yumbe District that shares the borderline with South Sudan to be extra vigilant and not let their animals loiter anyhow because they can easily be soft targets for the thieves.”

Capt. Kato said the UPDF shall continue to practice its mandate to ensure that Uganda’s West Nile borderline is safe and secure and that the lives and property of Ugandans are protected.

Some unconfirmed reports claimed that the suspected cattle raiders belonged to the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLA-IO) however, Col Paul Lam of SPLA-IO said he was not aware of the incident.

“I’m not aware of this information but I will get in touch with our SPLA-IO commander and the Ugandan forces then inform you,” Col. Lam said

The Local Council 3 chairperson of the area, Gasper Onzima, said they informed the UPDF about the raid and the latter reacted immediately.

“Our LCs from where the incident happened called us and immediately we had to inform UPDF of Morta Bridge and Kupia barracks where deployment was done immediately. The UPDF got the suspected cattle raiders before crossing the borderline and there was an exchange of fire that led to the death of one of them,” he said.

Onzima said the unidentified deceased raider was wearing a South Sudan army uniform bearing the rank of major.

“What we did as the government and the army is to bury the deceased on the Ugandan side in Kandiyo but the abducted man was rescued. At least 17 goats and 15 heads of cattle were also recovered,” Onzima added. “We resolved in a security meeting that those who have settled close to the border, especially near River Kaya, shift to Kandiyo because it will be hard to come to their rescue in case something happens to them as the UPDF barracks is far.”

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