Another group of Turkana Pastoralists fleeing drought in their area have crossed into Uganda from Kenya. Numbering close to 2,000 people, the pastoralists started entering Uganda last week and have settled in Kotido, Kaabong and Moroto districts in search of pasture and water for their livestock.
Late last year, about 4,000 Turkana pastoralists crossed into Kotido and Kaabong districts. Mark Epuke, the Chairperson of the Turkana community in Loyoro Sub County in Kaabong district, said the Ugandan government has helped to save their animals from dying because of lack of pasture and water in their area.
According to Epuke, he is expecting more Turkana pastoralists to cross to Uganda with their animals since all the wells in their region have dried up due to drought.
“Although Uganda is also dry, it isn’t comparable to the Turkana region. We have lost a big number of animals in Turkana due to drought because of lack of water and grass,” he said.
Mark Abuku, the Kaabong LC V Chairperson confirmed the entry of the new group of Turkana pastoralists in his district. He says Kenyan authorities requested Kaabong and Kotido district authorities to allow their herders to cross and graze in Karamoja due to lack of pasture in their country.
Peter Logiro, the Kotido Resident District Commissioner, says the Turkana herders are only allowed to stay and graze in Uganda without bringing their firearms, adding that they are fully protected by the Uganda People’s Defense Force-UPDF.
“We have been having several meetings with them and we are telling them they are free to stay and graze in Karamoja but not to cross with any firearm into Karamoja districts,” he said.
During the 2015 Tarehe sita celebrations held in Moroto, president, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni said he had no problem with the Turkana and Pokot pastoralists crossing into Uganda to graze their animals provided they leave behind their firearms.
“I have no problem with the Kenyan Pastoralists entering Uganda with their animals as long as they are not armed but if they come when they are armed we will give them a horizontal arrangement,” he said.