Three village chairpersons in Kotido have been arrested for illegally issuing letters to the cattle dealers at Kanawat cattle market.
The chairpersons are Francis Chulo, the LCI of Naoyakiong village in West Division, Samuel Amedo, LCI of Lodoket village in Loletio sub-county, and Lopusakou Loupe, the LCI of Areanch village Napumpum sub-county.
They were arrested on Thursday by the Animal Checkpoint Squad of the Anti-Stock Theft Unit while issuing letters to the people selling their animals to the cattle traders inside the market.
Michael Longole, the Mt Moroto Regional Police Spokesperson said that the suspects were arrested following the concerns from the cattle traders who continued suffering losses when they were found with stolen cows.
According to Longole, following the rampant cases of commercialized cattle rustling, the joint security forces have been on high alert in the cattle markets verifying whether each and every animal brought to the market whether they have proper documentation including an LCI letter from the village chairpersons.
Longole said that the village chairpersons have resorted to selling letters to cattle dealers in the market without establishing their origin and the rightful owners.
‘’It is a common practice that some cattle rustlers bribe village chairpersons to issue them with letters to take stolen animals to the market and others convince village chairpersons to issue letters inside the markets without ascertaining whether the animal is stolen or not’’ Longole reiterated.
Longole noted that it is a normal practice and procedure that LCI Chairpersons issue animal letters from the villages where the animal comes from and not inside the market.
On Monday, the traders buying cows in Karamoja expressed concerns about the chairpersons who have been issuing documents to cattle sellers in exchange for money and this has always landed them in trouble after buying stolen cattle due to fraudulent documentation.
The joint forces condemned the practice describing it as illegal and vowed to arrest all those involved in the criminal act.
Since July 2021, joint security forces have recovered a total of 1,661 stolen livestock from the various markets across Karamoja Sub Region.