SOROTI – More than 50 Balaalo herdsmen are stranded with their cattle at the Katakwi district headquarters after residents drove them away from their grazing grounds in Ongongoja sub-county.
The Balaalo who were dismissed from Ongongoja on Wednesday have since pitched camp at Katakwi district headquarters waiting for the intervention of the security.
The decision to drive the Balaalo herdsmen stems from concerns in Ongongoja over the alleged interference with the economic and agricultural activities in the area.
According to Joseph Ecuman-the district Councillor representing Ongongoja sub-county at the district, the Balaalo was were reported to be responsible for the destruction of most of the people’s gardens in the area.
Ecuman, who doubles as Katakwi district Vice chairperson noted that the community became aggressive to the Balaalo herdsmen after realizing that they were neither considerate nor cooperative whenever residents complained over their crops.
Angella Akengo, the district female councillor representing Angodingod sub-county said that besides failing to cooperate with the community, the Balaalo cattle-keepers have limited the residents from rearing animals since they had occupied almost most of the grazing land in the area.
But records at the district indicate that some of the Balaalo acquired land in Ongongoja, making them residents in the area.
Fred Kanyagambo – one of the Balaalo herdsmen who spent a night the district headquarters with animals on Wednesday said was surprised by the reaction of the community after settling in Katakwi for two years.
He said that all the allegations by the community against them were meant to taint their image as herdsmen from Ankole.
During the scuffles on Wednesday that attracted the intervention of the security, two people were injured and are still receiving treatment at Katakwi General Hospital.
After an emergency security meeting, the Balaalo were sent to Ajesai Animal Holding Ground but the community in the area denied them access to the facility.
Last year, Katakwi district council passed a resolution to chase away Balaalo herdsmen but the implementation was not effected as security leaders in the district declined to act.
The Katakwi RDC – Geoffrey Katamba was unreachable for a comment.