10 killed by Kenyan cattle rustlers

A group of suspected Kenyan cattle rustlers at the weekend attacked two Ugandan villages, killing at least 10 people. They also drove away between 700 and 800 head of cattle.

According to media reports, some 200 armed Pokots crossed from northwestern Kenya into Uganda and raided over 20 homes in the villages of Namalu and Takora, in Nakapiripiti, some 500 km northeast of the capital Kampala.

Peter Lokeris, the minister in charge of the Karamoja region in northeastern Uganda, confirmed that 10 people had been killed in the attack. He said he hoped the new Kenyan government, which was sworn in on 30 December, would be more effective in cooperating on peace and security issues along the common border with Uganda.

According to Lokeris, this was the second attack in two months in the area, where previously communities had lived in relative peace for years. "This an issue that will be dealt with by the two governments," he told IRIN.

The incident has sparked fears of more attacks in the Karamoja region, which since early last year has undergone a government-sponsored disarmament programme.

The Karamojong, a traditionally pastoralist group living in northeastern Ugandan districts, have often been accused of raiding neighbouring districts, causing displacement and human suffering.

The Ugandan government initially supplied weapons to small groups of "home guards" within the Karamoja subregion, on the grounds that the Karamojong were under threat from cross-border raids by Turkana and Pokot pastoralists from Kenya.