Saturday, July 20, 2019

Rampant Livestock Theft In Wuli-East


As PIU Officers Use Motorbikes To Hunt Down Armed Robbers

By Mustapha Jallow

Residents of Makamasireh in the Wuli-East constituency of the Upper River Region North, have told this reporter that armed robbers have disappeared with their cattle and small ruminants including equines and headed towards neighbouring Senegal.

The robbers who are said to be mostly armed to the teeth, are said to be thorn on the flesh of villagers leading to the authorities deploying personnel of the Police Intervention Unit (PIU), who were seen by this reporter, guarding affected settlements. However, officers of the PIU were also heard lamenting the break-down of their patrol vehicle months ago and stating that they are now using motorcycle on patrol missions within that part of the region.

‘‘We have received series of reports of armed attacks in this region but since our deployment here, the attacks have reduced so far. Our vehicle broke-down and it had been taken for maintenance months ago. We have only one motorcycle for patrol and other officers have to walk,’’ a concerned officer told this reporter.

Officers also expressed disappointment with some of the villagers who allegedly collaborate with the robbers. ‘‘Since the day of our deployment, we found out that armed men have not been doing this alone. They have informers here and if they conduct attack and take people’s livestock, the informers are given their share as well. Some of the unscrupulous individuals have been arrested and summoned to pay affected villagers,’’ he said.

Villagers and officers alike pleaded with the authorities to come to the aid of PIU officers as most of them are lodged by the villagers, due to the unfinished camp that is being built to accommodate the security officers. They added that the authorities need to provide the PIU with facilities to enable them crack down the robbers.

Khalifa Kanteh, an elderly villager in his 60s, said majority of the small ruminants owned by people in the village, have been taken away by the robbers before the deployment of the officers; that ten goats, four sheep and two horses have been taken away recently; that one of his cattle has been taken away from the heard and up to date, he cannot trace it.

Saikou  Kamateh, said he was a businessman before; but due to attacks in the village, he had to suspend his business and close down his shop. ‘‘I cannot count the number of animals that I’ve lost. Both small ruminants and equines have been taken away. I was doing business for 17 years but cannot do it anymore because I have to save my life for the betterment of my family,’’ he explained.

Similar remarks were made by all those who spoke to this reporter and they all called on the authorities to provide vehicles and more officers to secure the borders and for the safety of the country.

At the time of going to press, Superintendent David Kujabi was contacted to shed light on the story but he could not be reached.

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