MOROTO –The Police in Karamoja sub-region has revived roadblocks along highways to avert cattle thefts, in addition to entry of illegal crude waragi (local brew.)
In October, President Yoweri Museveni ordered the removal of all roadblocks along major highways so as to ensure the smooth movement of goods and services.
However, the decision caused vulnerability onto the operations of security organs as regulating the movement of trucks carrying cows as well as entry of illegal crude waragi into the region became impossible
On Thursday, the Police announced that effective Friday, roadblocks along the major routes entering Karamoja would be reinstated.
Elias Kasirabo –the Anti-Stock Theft Unit – ASTU Commander said that they have been struggling with livestock traders who took advantage of the absence of the checkpoints to transport stolen cows out of Karamoja.
Kasirabo maintained that despite the ban, roadblocks in hotspot routes would be retained because ‘they could not just look on as criminals walk freely with stolen property.’
James Lomokol, a resident of Nadunget sub-county noted that it was their wish to have the roadblocks revived. Lomokol said that ever since the roadblocks were removed, the livestock traders started transporting animals at night and this could worry them if their animals are really safe from raiders.
“There was unlimited movement of trucks carrying animals, we used to wonder why traders would choose to move at night – these were stolen animals and there was no security to intercept,” he said.
But Julius Sagal Lomer – a resident of Nakapiripirit district, revealed that Police had maintained the roadblocks along the routes leading to Amudat district.
Lomer said that there was no big impact in ‘reinstating the checkpoints,’ – because whether with or without, cattle thefts have been rampant despite security interventions.
Lomer noted that reinstating the roadblocks was only a fortune moment for the security officers to extort money from travellers.
Additional reporting by URN