A group of local leaders in Agago District has issued a stern ultimatum to the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), demanding that the authority takes immediate action to restrain elephants and buffalos from escaping Kidepo National Park and encroaching upon residents’ farms. The leaders, led by Agago MP David Lagen Atuka, have threatened to organize efforts to fend off these animals if UWA fails to act within two weeks.
The frustrated leaders accuse UWA officials of negligence, which they claim has enabled the animals to escape the confines of the park and wreak havoc on farms, particularly in Lacekoto-Pida Village in Adilang Sub-County.
MP David Lagen expressed his concerns, stating, “I give the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife, and Antiquities and UWA only two weeks to come and assess the problem on the ground because here is a double challenge of the Karamojong raids and now animal challenges to the people, hence we shall be forced to protect our gardens.” He conveyed this ultimatum during a meeting with local leaders and fellow legislators sitting on the Acholi Parliamentary group in Lacekoto Village.
Responding to the community’s threats, UWA spokesperson Bashir Hangi urged the leaders to refrain from actions that may lead to regrettable consequences. He noted, “We are aware of the problem and have sensitized communities to always report in time so that our officers can intervene to prevent these animals from causing more harm.”
Catherine Lamwka, Omoro Woman MP and Deputy Chairperson of the Tourism, Trade, and Industry Committee of Parliament, revealed that her committee had recently engaged with UWA. She stated that they advised the authority to expedite the fencing of national parks with electric fences, especially in areas where animals disrupt farming.
Hangi responded to this suggestion, saying, “We are building fences to prevent this problem and have so far built fences in Murchison, Queen Elizabeth, and it’s Kidepo next. So, residents should work with us because we even have UWA scouts in their localities who are helping in this.”
The meeting witnessed the participation of various leaders, including Chua East MP Magret Lamwaka, Agago Deputy RDC Susan Akot, as well as village and sub-county leaders. Susan Akot acknowledged the progress in curtailing cattle raids but emphasized the issue of wildlife invasion and urged UWA to improve its response to the problem.