Business has ground to a halt at several cooperative societies in Abim district due to the prevailing state of insecurity in the district.
Over the past couple of weeks, the security situation in Abim district has deteriorated significantly following an increase in rustling raids by suspected cattle thieves from Kotido which have injured some and forced many families to flee their homes.
Cooperatives in the area are already paying the price as many of their members have been forced to flee, leaving unmet their obligations to the respective societies.
Grace Awili, Chairperson of Alerek Village Savings and Loans Association, said the uncertain security situation has frustrated their weekly savings since members are afraid of assembling in the group.
“Some members who were supposed to have returned money that they borrowed last month are nowhere to be seen. Given the security situation, people are running up and down. If government does not soon intervene and restore order, we shall be badly affected,” she said.
Patricia Akidi, Chairperson of Kiru Village Savings and Loans Association said they have not held a group meeting for the last two weeks.
“We meet every Saturday evening in order to save, while other members borrow money. But for two weeks now were have not sat, and we do not know where the other members have fled to in fear for their lives,” she said.
Officials speak out
Mr. Richard Okori the Abim sub county chairperson said government needs to contain the situation before it gets out of hand.
”Many farmers are unable to access their gardens, yet this is the planting season for the people of Abim district,” he said.
Abim Resident District Commissioner, Samuel Hashaka Mpimbaza, confirmed reports of the prevailing unrest, saying the army was stepping up operations to apprehend the cattle rustlers.
“It is true people have deserted their homes but the army is currently on the ground to deal with the few Karimojong who are trying to cause insecurity in Abim.”
Maj. Peter Mugisa, the UPDF 3rd division Spokesperson said the army is working hard to restore calm to Abim, adding that a cordon-and-search operation conducted in Kotido district in the wake of the escalating insecurity had resulted in the recovery of four guns so far.