MP David Atuka threatens hunting spree over UWA negligence in Agago

Agago County Member of Parliament, Hon Lagen David Atuka addressing community members on Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Agago, (UG): Agago County Member of Parliament, Hon Lagen David Atuka has threatened to mobilize the community of Adilang with enough spears, bows, and arrows for a serious hunting spree since the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) is failing to curb the Elephants and Buffalos that escape from Kidepo National Park from raiding gardens at Lacekoto –Pida Village in Adilang sub- county in Agago District.

The MP’s utterances came on the 31st of October 2023 while meeting community members in Lacekoto village together with other members of the Acoli Parliamentary group that included Lamwaka Margaret of Chua East in Kitgum, Dr Okullu Anthony of Lamwo and Lamwaka Catherine of Omoro.

The area LC1 Odong Ramadhan and Adilang sub-county Chairperson Okwir Mohamed and other community members cried out to the Mps saying they are projecting a serious hunger in the area because their cattle are raided by the Karamojong warriors and now Buffalos plus Elephants have currently poured in their areas eating all their food crops in the garden including maize, groundnuts among others.

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“We can’t do much, we just look at them in our gardens and no verification has been done here despite pleading with Uganda Wildlife Authority officials in Kidepo”. Okwir Mohamed said.

These concerns came at a time when Adilang Sub County has recorded 16 human deaths since July 2023, and over 200 heads of cattle reportedly lost according to the submissions of the local leaders.

Agago Deputy RDC, Akot Susan who was in the meeting confirmed the laxity of UWA officials in ensuring that the animals aren’t disturbed.

“At least in about three to four months now, security has worked very hard and we have minimized cattle raids although the invasion of the wild animal is true and UWA are very slow, we hope they improve and support us”. The RDC added.

“I only give the Ministry of Tourism Wildlife and Antiquities and Uganda Wildlife Authority two weeks to come and assess the problem on the ground because here is doubly challenging the Karamojong raid and now Animal challenges to the people hence we shall be forced to protect our gardens”. Lagen said.

Furious Lagen said he will have no option in two weeks’ time than to support people and defend the little they have with local tools since the government seems to be neglecting already communities troubled by the Karamojong raid.

Omoro Woman Mp Lamwaka Catherine the deputy Chairperson of the Tourism, Trade and Industry Committee of parliament said her committee recently had an engagement with UWA and they advised them to fast-track the fencing of the national parks with electric fences, especially in areas where animals disrupt the farming of the local people like in Nwoya and Agago among other districts.

“My committee is aware this is donor-funded by the World Bank and we are wondering why this is taking forever,” Ms Lamwaka said.

She added that there is a compensation fund with UWA and they need to do verification and support the troubled residents of Adilang immediately.

She advised the Minister of Tourism Tom Butime to visit the ground and evaluate the challenges of the community, always attacked by Karamojong warriors too.

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According to her the Wild Animals from Kidepo Valley National Park coupled with the continuous attack by the Karamojong warriors have caused the Acholi, Lango, and Tesso a lot that they never had time to practice Agriculture to fend for their living.

She interests the government to consider that belt with a relief assistant and come out with a more holistic approach and ensure that the Karamojong have pasture and water within their locality to put to an end the continued attack.

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