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Kenya, Uganda collaborate against border cattle rustling

KITALE, Kenya, (Xinhua) -- Kenya and Uganda have formed a joint security unit to deal with cross border cattle rustling and crime related vices, an official said on Monday.

Trans-Nzoia County police Chief Mrs Lillian Okembo said the unit is tasked with conducting security surveillance along the border and also target cattle rustlers behind the loss of cattle from villages near the border of the two countries. The official said the cross border security unit will pursue and recover stolen cattle from either side of the border.

“We agreed a joint security unit to tackle emerging threats of cattle rustlers. We aim to stamp out the problem and reduce border conflicts as result of revengeful raids,” she said in Kitale. She said the unit has helped to recover 5 herds of cattle that had been stolen from pastoralists in Bukwo district Eastern Uganda.

The animals were seized from Kapkoi market in north of Kitale where they were intended to be sold to local butcher operators. Mrs. Okembo said officers aided by the owners of the stolen cattle pursued and recovered them before they could be slaughtered. During the recovery two suspected thieves managed to escape from the trading center after they spotted the officers.

“The cattle had been stolen from Uganda and the thieves had brought them to the market to sell when the officers and owners arrived and recovered them,” said Mrs. Okembo.

The recovery follows a working strategies agreed between security agencies in Kenya and Uganda to stamp out cross border rustling. She said they had identified a gang operating between Kenya and Uganda involved in cross border rustling and other related crimes.

“We resolved with our counterparts in Uganda to conduct a joint security operation and pursue cattle raiders and perpetrators of crime,” said Okembo.

Also pursued by the unit are cartels behind drugs and small arms smuggling. To stem border conflicts, Mrs. Okembo said the two sides had agreed to collaborate and ensure criminals are arrested and punished. Meanwhile over 100 Kenya police reservists have been trained on human rights issues coming in the wake of ex-judicial killing and misuse of firearms by the officers.

Mrs. Okembo said the officer were ignorant of human rights and abuse their position. During the 3 week training held in Kitale, the officers were educated on the rights of the citizens and how they are supposed to discharge their duties professionally.

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