KARAMOJA: Tension is high between the employees of China Raily N03, which is constructing the Moroto-Lokitelenyala road in Moroto district, and the local community. Residents accuse the Chinese contractors of poisoning 28 goats belonging to members of the local community.
A postmortem conducted by veterinary officers from Moroto district local government shows that the goats succumbed to poisoning, and as a result, they were quickly buried by UPDF soldiers guarding the Chinese camp at Lomunit. The goats died on Monday after consuming water from a Chinese quarry along the Moroto-Kotido road.
Currently, China Railway Company N03 is using the quarry to collect materials for constructing another road that stretches through Moroto Lokitelnay. According to reliable information, Karimojong pastoralists have started hatching a plan to raid the Chinese camp to avenge the poisoning of their goats. Mark Akorio is one of those who lost their goats.
He explains that the goats rushed inside the Chinese comp after seeing water, since it’s a dry season, took the water, and started dying on the spot. These Chinese have poisoned our goats. “We took our goats for grazing in the morning while they were very healthy and without any problems, but as soon as they entered the Chinese camp, all of them died inside the comp,” he said.
Peter Moding, another pastoralist, said that they would get revenge should the Chinese fail to compensate them for their goats. Simon Peter Lotem, the Nadunget sub-county LC III chairperson, has asked the Chinese to compensate the community for the lost goats if they want to have peace with the community.
“Animals are the bank of the Karimojong, so killing animals like that is like freezing their accounts, which is dangerous,” he said. Wang Li, the project manager of China Railway N03, declined to comment on the matter when contacted by URN.
Ronald Olaki, the resident engineer under UNRA, said that they would engage the local leaders and see how to address the situation before it gets out of hand. David Koryang, the Moroto District LC V Chairperson, described the act by the Chinese as unfortunate.
Charles Kumaketch Oluba, the Moroto Chief Administrative Officer, has condemned the act and urged the police to conduct thorough investigations to ascertain the type of poison used to kill the goats. He said such an act frustrates the efforts of President Museveni geared towards eliminating poverty in every household in the country.
Micheal Longole, the Karamoja regional police spokesperson, said that “We have opened up a general file and we are investigating the circumstances under which the goats were poisoned,” he said. He said those responsible would be charged with injuring animals once their inquiries are complete.