Pokot, Sabiny Clash Over Sand Mining in Amudat

A Karimojong woman mining gold casually in Karita sub county in Amudat distrcit recently (photo by Steven Ariong)
A woman washing soil to extract gold at the Chepkararat mining site in Lokales Sub County, Karita District. On Friday, miners from Amudat and Sebei clashed over sand mining in the same sub-county. (Photo by Steven Ariong)
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Police in Amudat district, Karamoja region, on Friday, averted a potentially deadly clash between the Kalenjin-speaking tribes, the Pokot of Amudat district in Karamoja, and the Sabiny of the Sebei region over sand mining in Amudat district.

The conflicts arose after the Amudat district awarded a tender to Saruma Company Limited to manage revenue collection for sand mining on behalf of Lokales Sub County in Amudat district. This move has been rejected by the Pokot community and Lokales sub-county political leaders.

Saruma Company Limited is owned by a Sabiny businessman.

Ms. Cheptala, the district councilor for Lokales Sub County, stated that the procedures used for tendering were flawed. She added that, to make things worse, the Sabiny community in Sebei has never allowed the Pokot to cross into their district to graze their animals.

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“We are losing our cows to the Pokot, and when we tried to cross and graze our animals in Sebei, the Sabiny intercept our animals and, in most cases, even kill our livestock. So why should we also entertain them here?” she asked.

Pongos Chelimo, another Pokot, stated that allowing a Sabiny to collect revenue on behalf of the Pokot community was unwise, and they would fight until everything is stopped.

Mr. Patrick Chelangat, the proprietor of Saruma Company, which won the tender to collect revenue, told this publication that he is not part of the political confusion between Amudat and Sebei districts.

“For me, I am a businessman. I am not part of any political fighting. I saw the advert by Amudat district local government, calling for the tender for sand mining. I applied like any other Ugandan and won. So whatever politics is in it, I am not part of it,” he said.

Ms. Betty Chelain, the woman member of parliament for Amudat, also questioned the whole procedure used for tendering for sand mining.

Mr. Apolli Kyangungu, the district police commander in Amudat, said the police reached the sand mining site in Lokales at the right time.

“We reached the site very quickly before anyone was injured and managed to calm down the situation,” he said.

He urged the political leaders of Amudat and Sebei to resolve their rift amicably so that the two communities can live in harmony.

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