Indian UCBs to be brought at par with commercial counterparts

NEW DELHI– Speaking on the occasion of onboarding of co-operatives on the GeM portal recently in Delhi, Indian Union Minister Amit Shah said that co-ops can no longer be treated in a step motherly manner.

According to the Indian Cooperative, while elaborating the statement, Shah said to co-operators “your CA [Chartered Account] must have told you that the taxes on co-ops are now at par with that of Corporate. And we did this in the very first three months of the opening of a separate ministry of cooperation”, he stated adding we are not used to publishing our achievements.

All arms of co-operatives would be brought at par with the mainstream economy, said Shah. Taxes and treatment to co-operative banks and urban cooperative banks would also be brought at par with the commercial banks, he underlined.

“Many exchanges with Reserve Bank of India [RBI] have taken place on the issue and the Ministry is hopeful that an arrangement suitable to both RBI and Urban Cooperative Banks [UCBs] would be found sooner than later”, said Shah. We are now preparing for the final meeting with the RBI on the issue, he informed.

Due to the different nature of the event Shah was participating in, he did not dwell on thorny issues between the RBI and co-op banking fraternity. Earlier, talking to Indian Cooperative Nafcub President Jyotindra Mehta gave a brief idea of the issues at stake.

It bears recalling that in Parliament also during the monsoon session Union Minister of Cooperation Amit Shah has said in a written reply that the government is in talks with the RBI to resolve issues.

Talking to Indian Cooperative Mehta said NAFCUB has drawn the attention of RBI and the Ministry of Co-operation to certain regulatory restrictions which do not apply to other categories of banks, but only to Urban Co-operative Banks as a result of which the growth of the UCB sector has been impeded/adversely affected.

One of such demands is inclusion of UCBs in the second schedule to RBI Act, 1934. Only 54 UCBs out of 1534 are included in the second schedule of RBI Act. All commercial banks are automatically scheduled. RBI had stopped giving scheduled status to UCBs in 2004 just because one of the major UCBs in Gujarat had collapsed.

Though, on paper they withdrew the ban in 2013, very few UCBs have been given scheduled status since then. RBI and the Ministry have been requested to make scheduling of UCBs that reach the required threshold of size to be automatically scheduled, stated Mehta.

Another issue raised by Nafcub is Branch expansion which it says is part of a normal growth process of banks. Commercial banks, RRBs and even SFBs that have come into existence very recently, are permitted to open branches freely just by submitting an annual plan to RBI.

NAFCUB has requested RBI and the Govt to prescribe branch opening norms for UCBs that are identical with those prescribed for commercial banks and SFBs.

RBI has recently permitted all scheduled private sector banks to undertake Government Agency Business and thus there is no justification for not permitting at least scheduled UCBs in participating in the Govt agency business, underlines Mehta.

There are many other issues plaguing UCBs which include resumption of licensing of new UCBs and a revisit of the income tax issues, said Mehta adding he is hopeful that with the proactive attitude visible in Amitbhai Shah, these issues will get resolved.

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Indian UCBs to be brought at par with commercial counterparts

NEW DELHI– Speaking on the occasion of onboarding of co-operatives on the GeM portal recently in Delhi, Indian Union Minister Amit Shah said that co-ops can no longer be treated in a step motherly manner.

According to the Indian Cooperative, while elaborating the statement, Shah said to co-operators “your CA [Chartered Account] must have told you that the taxes on co-ops are now at par with that of Corporate. And we did this in the very first three months of the opening of a separate ministry of cooperation”, he stated adding we are not used to publishing our achievements.

All arms of co-operatives would be brought at par with the mainstream economy, said Shah. Taxes and treatment to co-operative banks and urban cooperative banks would also be brought at par with the commercial banks, he underlined.

“Many exchanges with Reserve Bank of India [RBI] have taken place on the issue and the Ministry is hopeful that an arrangement suitable to both RBI and Urban Cooperative Banks [UCBs] would be found sooner than later”, said Shah. We are now preparing for the final meeting with the RBI on the issue, he informed.

Due to the different nature of the event Shah was participating in, he did not dwell on thorny issues between the RBI and co-op banking fraternity. Earlier, talking to Indian Cooperative Nafcub President Jyotindra Mehta gave a brief idea of the issues at stake.

It bears recalling that in Parliament also during the monsoon session Union Minister of Cooperation Amit Shah has said in a written reply that the government is in talks with the RBI to resolve issues.

Talking to Indian Cooperative Mehta said NAFCUB has drawn the attention of RBI and the Ministry of Co-operation to certain regulatory restrictions which do not apply to other categories of banks, but only to Urban Co-operative Banks as a result of which the growth of the UCB sector has been impeded/adversely affected.

One of such demands is inclusion of UCBs in the second schedule to RBI Act, 1934. Only 54 UCBs out of 1534 are included in the second schedule of RBI Act. All commercial banks are automatically scheduled. RBI had stopped giving scheduled status to UCBs in 2004 just because one of the major UCBs in Gujarat had collapsed.

Though, on paper they withdrew the ban in 2013, very few UCBs have been given scheduled status since then. RBI and the Ministry have been requested to make scheduling of UCBs that reach the required threshold of size to be automatically scheduled, stated Mehta.

Another issue raised by Nafcub is Branch expansion which it says is part of a normal growth process of banks. Commercial banks, RRBs and even SFBs that have come into existence very recently, are permitted to open branches freely just by submitting an annual plan to RBI.

NAFCUB has requested RBI and the Govt to prescribe branch opening norms for UCBs that are identical with those prescribed for commercial banks and SFBs.

RBI has recently permitted all scheduled private sector banks to undertake Government Agency Business and thus there is no justification for not permitting at least scheduled UCBs in participating in the Govt agency business, underlines Mehta.

There are many other issues plaguing UCBs which include resumption of licensing of new UCBs and a revisit of the income tax issues, said Mehta adding he is hopeful that with the proactive attitude visible in Amitbhai Shah, these issues will get resolved.

https://thecooperator.news/indian-bank-penalised-for-upgrading-loan-accounts-without-recovery/

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Hoima district suspends land titling as cases of fraud emerge

HOIMA – Hoima district executive committee has suspended the processing of land titles in Buraru and Kyabigambire sub-counties, following the escalating cases of fraud where some people are alleged to have acquired titles for land that is not theirs.

The suspension followed a meeting this week between the two sub-counties leaders, village leaders, district land board officials, victims, and Hoima district executive committee members at Kasingo district headquarters in Hoima West division in Hoima city.

It was noted that the increasing land disputes were threatening security in the area, forcing the district authorities to unanimously suspend for one month all activities related to processing of land titles in the two sub-counties.

The Hoima district chairperson Kadiri Kirungi said they would set up a committee to investigate the illegal acquisition of land titles by some people.

He said all land titles processed without following the law would be halted while the ones acquired illegally would be forwarded to the Lands ministry for cancelation.

It is purported that there are about eight fake land titles in Buraru Sub-county owned by different tycoons from the district.

Some of the affected areas are Ngombye hill land in Buraru Sub-county where over 400 residents are wrangling with four men over 400 acres of land.

The district is also investigating titles that were illegally processed for Buraru parish headquarters and Buraru Growers Society’s land.

Kadiri said the district executive committee is receiving complaints from affected people and other entities for investigation.

“Members on the district executive committee agreed that any land title that will be found to have been acquired through illegal procedures will be terminated,” he said.

He said that the district would soon convene a meeting with different stakeholders including the current district land board members, former members of Buraru Area Land Committee, and other relevant district officials to scrutinise the contested land titles in Buraru Sub-county.

He urged the affected residents to remain calm and avoid breaking the law, adding that the month-long scrutiny will ensure that justice prevails.

Robert Mwanga, the Buraru Sub-county LCIII chairman, and residents accused Nebba Isingoma, the former Buraru Sub-county Area Land Committee chairman of being responsible for illegal land titling in the area.

Mwanga alleged that Isingoma has been conniving with fraudsters to backdate and produce fake land titles on the resident’s land.

Isingoma is also alleged to have refused to hand over the stamp he was using to do his dirty deals.

However, Isingoma when contacted by this reporter, denied the allegations brought against him, saying that they are baseless and only aimed at tarnishing his image.

https://thecooperator.news/bunyoro-kingdom-security-agencies-meet-over-land-dispute/

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Hoima district suspends land titling as cases of fraud emerge

HOIMA – Hoima district executive committee has suspended the processing of land titles in Buraru and Kyabigambire sub-counties, following the escalating cases of fraud where some people are alleged to have acquired titles for land that is not theirs.

The suspension followed a meeting this week between the two sub-counties leaders, village leaders, district land board officials, victims, and Hoima district executive committee members at Kasingo district headquarters in Hoima West division in Hoima city.

It was noted that the increasing land disputes were threatening security in the area, forcing the district authorities to unanimously suspend for one month all activities related to processing of land titles in the two sub-counties.

The Hoima district chairperson Kadiri Kirungi said they would set up a committee to investigate the illegal acquisition of land titles by some people.

He said all land titles processed without following the law would be halted while the ones acquired illegally would be forwarded to the Lands ministry for cancelation.

It is purported that there are about eight fake land titles in Buraru Sub-county owned by different tycoons from the district.

Some of the affected areas are Ngombye hill land in Buraru Sub-county where over 400 residents are wrangling with four men over 400 acres of land.

The district is also investigating titles that were illegally processed for Buraru parish headquarters and Buraru Growers Society’s land.

Kadiri said the district executive committee is receiving complaints from affected people and other entities for investigation.

“Members on the district executive committee agreed that any land title that will be found to have been acquired through illegal procedures will be terminated,” he said.

He said that the district would soon convene a meeting with different stakeholders including the current district land board members, former members of Buraru Area Land Committee, and other relevant district officials to scrutinise the contested land titles in Buraru Sub-county.

He urged the affected residents to remain calm and avoid breaking the law, adding that the month-long scrutiny will ensure that justice prevails.

Robert Mwanga, the Buraru Sub-county LCIII chairman, and residents accused Nebba Isingoma, the former Buraru Sub-county Area Land Committee chairman of being responsible for illegal land titling in the area.

Mwanga alleged that Isingoma has been conniving with fraudsters to backdate and produce fake land titles on the resident’s land.

Isingoma is also alleged to have refused to hand over the stamp he was using to do his dirty deals.

However, Isingoma when contacted by this reporter, denied the allegations brought against him, saying that they are baseless and only aimed at tarnishing his image.

https://thecooperator.news/bunyoro-kingdom-security-agencies-meet-over-land-dispute/

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Legislators urge gov’t to give farmers seeds for new season

KAMPALA – Members of Parliament have asked government to procure and distribute seeds to the farmers as a measure to avert famine in the months to come ahead.

Some parts of the country have been ripped by severe hunger due to the prolonged drought that devastated crop gardens in the first season, leaving most farmers with very little or nothing to harvest.

Areas like Karamoja have had people and animals die due to inadequate food and water. Teso and some parts of Northern Uganda are not spared either as some parts have an acute shortage of food.

Kilak North County MP, Anthony Akol, said the long dry spell has left Ugandan farmers without seeds, despite the rainy season that has set in.

“This month of August is the right time that we receive rain and people really want to plant. Government should urgently distribute fast maturing seedlings like maize and beans,” he told Parliament while raising a matter of national importance, during plenary on Thursday.

Akol called for food distribution to be undertaken in Agago district, where at least 20 people have reportedly died because of hunger.

Kiboga District Woman Legislator, Christine Kaaya urged government to expedite the feasibility of agricultural insurance and its related application, which she said could be a long-term solution for farmers.

“Farmers planted quality seeds and expected to get something. Some of the soils were fertile but the harvests were poor. In order to have food, we must have seeds provided at the moment,” she said.

Kaaya also proposed that the Finance Ministry should instruct committees of the Parish Development Model [PDM] SACCOs to release funds to facilitate seed distribution.

“Right now the money is lying idle in the PDM SACCOs account, yet there is a critical need for this [money] to start off,” She added.

Bbale County MP, Charles Tebandeke blamed the failure of government to provide seeds in the current season on PDM, saying government has earmarked Shs 4 billion to procure seeds under the programme.

He said it was unfair for the government to inject the funds meant for seedlings into the PDM, which he said has delayed to kick off.

“It is unfair and it [PDM] will not address the issue of food insecurity in the country. All the cattle corridor is affected by the food insecurity,” Tebandeke said.

The Chairperson of the Committee on Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries Jane OKori-Moe, urged government to use the Shs4bln to buy planting materials for the farmers.

“When we were budgeting, we even warned members that PDM did not envisage food insecurity yet a lot of money for seedlings was incorporated into the model [PDM],” she said.

She added, “Now that people are starving everywhere, we needed just Shs 4bln; Shs 2bln for planting season A and Shs 2bln for planting season B and I request that we provide that money so that people have the seeds.”

Meanwhile, Army Representative Maj. Gen. Sam Kavuma, who is also the Deputy Coordinator, Operation Wealth Creation [OWC] advised the House to come up with a new strategy to address the current famine in some parts of the country.

Kavuma added: “The existing government intervention under the agriculture ministry through OWC, the National Agricultural Advisory Services and PDM are not designed to address the famine in the short-term.”

The Deputy Speaker, Thomas Tayebwa, directed the agriculture minister to provide a comprehensive statement on the distribution of seeds next Tuesday.

“In the statement, we need actions taken to mitigate all these issues that have been raised. This is a very serious matter,” Tayebwa said.

https://thecooperator.news/new-partnership-to-support-omoro-farmer-groups-with-seeds/

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Legislators urge gov’t to give farmers seeds for new season

KAMPALA – Members of Parliament have asked government to procure and distribute seeds to the farmers as a measure to avert famine in the months to come ahead.

Some parts of the country have been ripped by severe hunger due to the prolonged drought that devastated crop gardens in the first season, leaving most farmers with very little or nothing to harvest.

Areas like Karamoja have had people and animals die due to inadequate food and water. Teso and some parts of Northern Uganda are not spared either as some parts have an acute shortage of food.

Kilak North County MP, Anthony Akol, said the long dry spell has left Ugandan farmers without seeds, despite the rainy season that has set in.

“This month of August is the right time that we receive rain and people really want to plant. Government should urgently distribute fast maturing seedlings like maize and beans,” he told Parliament while raising a matter of national importance, during plenary on Thursday.

Akol called for food distribution to be undertaken in Agago district, where at least 20 people have reportedly died because of hunger.

Kiboga District Woman Legislator, Christine Kaaya urged government to expedite the feasibility of agricultural insurance and its related application, which she said could be a long-term solution for farmers.

“Farmers planted quality seeds and expected to get something. Some of the soils were fertile but the harvests were poor. In order to have food, we must have seeds provided at the moment,” she said.

Kaaya also proposed that the Finance Ministry should instruct committees of the Parish Development Model [PDM] SACCOs to release funds to facilitate seed distribution.

“Right now the money is lying idle in the PDM SACCOs account, yet there is a critical need for this [money] to start off,” She added.

Bbale County MP, Charles Tebandeke blamed the failure of government to provide seeds in the current season on PDM, saying government has earmarked Shs 4 billion to procure seeds under the programme.

He said it was unfair for the government to inject the funds meant for seedlings into the PDM, which he said has delayed to kick off.

“It is unfair and it [PDM] will not address the issue of food insecurity in the country. All the cattle corridor is affected by the food insecurity,” Tebandeke said.

The Chairperson of the Committee on Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries Jane OKori-Moe, urged government to use the Shs4bln to buy planting materials for the farmers.

“When we were budgeting, we even warned members that PDM did not envisage food insecurity yet a lot of money for seedlings was incorporated into the model [PDM],” she said.

She added, “Now that people are starving everywhere, we needed just Shs 4bln; Shs 2bln for planting season A and Shs 2bln for planting season B and I request that we provide that money so that people have the seeds.”

Meanwhile, Army Representative Maj. Gen. Sam Kavuma, who is also the Deputy Coordinator, Operation Wealth Creation [OWC] advised the House to come up with a new strategy to address the current famine in some parts of the country.

Kavuma added: “The existing government intervention under the agriculture ministry through OWC, the National Agricultural Advisory Services and PDM are not designed to address the famine in the short-term.”

The Deputy Speaker, Thomas Tayebwa, directed the agriculture minister to provide a comprehensive statement on the distribution of seeds next Tuesday.

“In the statement, we need actions taken to mitigate all these issues that have been raised. This is a very serious matter,” Tayebwa said.

https://thecooperator.news/new-partnership-to-support-omoro-farmer-groups-with-seeds/

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Gov’t moves to improve staff accommodation at Busolwe hospital

BUTALEJA – To improve the delivery of health services at Busolwe General Hospital, the government has started constructing and renovating 74 housing units for the hospital’s workers.

Busolwe Hospital, found in Butaleja district, eastern Uganda, has 118 health workers, but the hospital can only provide housing for a small number of its workers.

The hospital’s medical superintendent, Dr. David Okanya, says that they are renovating 74 housing units.

The Staff houses which had gone without renovation for over 40 years were in an appalling state.

The construction and renovation contract was awarded to Uganda People’s Defence Force [UPDF] Engineering Brigade at Shs 6 billion.

The 100-bed hospital which serves both out-patients and in-patients operates not only in dilapidated structures but also lacks reliable electricity as well as basic health equipment and ultra-scan.

The hospital has never received a major renovation since its construction, although there have been minor repairs like painting and replacement of ceiling boards.

Available information indicates that some of the health workers live up to 15 kilometres away from the work station due to inadequate staff accommodation at the hospital.

Dr. Ivan Mukasa, Senior medical officer attached to Busolwe Hospital, said there is a need to expand staff accommodation to avoid late coming and absenteeism.

“We need all staff to be accommodated within the hospital to avoid late coming. Most of them cannot get money for rent. Female workers face a challenge in moving at night,” Dr. Mukasa said.

The facility also faces challenges of inadequate personnel, drugs, and other medical supplies, and has been operating without piped water for 15 years.

The hospital, which has been in dire condition since 1986, serves more than 200 patients on daily basis from various districts, including Budaka, Bugiri, Namutumba, and Tororo, also lacks enough oxygen cylinders and an x-ray machine.

Butaleja District Woman MP, Florence Andiru Nebanda, urged government to elevate Busolwe hospital to a regional referral facility if it is to provide holistic healthcare.

“We ask the government to change Busolwe hospital to a referral hospital once the overhaul renovation is complete. It’s an opportunity for our people. We shall have more medical treatment like specialists and medicines, ”she said, adding that it will help locals to have access to specialists, and consultants.

The hospital is overwhelmed by the increasing population, which comes from the neighboring districts yet it does not offer specialised treatment.

MP Nebanda added that “Because of the disrepair, many patients with not-too-complicated cases have to be referred over 50kms away to Mbale regional referral hospital, which is another cost to our poor people because of the poor road and costly transport. It also creates needless crowding and overloading Mbale hospital with small cases.”

The Butaleja District Chairperson Michael Higenyi Bory, said health workers have been staying in dilapidated buildings.

He said that construction that commenced six months ago, is at 45 percent.

“We can only provide accommodation to 74 staff in 74 housing units upon completion. The rest of the staff rent houses outside the hospital, trekking long distances to access the hospital which affects their daily productivity as they arrive at work late,” he said.

Isaac Mulera Budget, a board member of the hospital, said the ongoing renovation doesn’t include doctors’ houses.

“The doctors are sleeping under leaking roofs. I wonder how our doctors are going to work when they sleep under linking roofs,” Mulera said, adding that the hospital has eight doctors.

He added that “Even though the renovation is going on, it’s not enough for the staff. We want the works on the main hospital complex to start. None of the machines in the hospital are functional and the government should equip the hospital.”

Busolwe General Hospital admits over 100 patients daily and attends to 300 out-patients.

The hospital also lacks a modern ambulance.

Mulera asked government to expand the hospital, saying it will improve access to health services by the poor people.

Butaleja district with a population of 310,900 has 24 health facilities.

https://thecooperator.news/mps-quiz-masaka-hospital-boss-over-shs-2-5bln-inflated-contract/

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Gov’t moves to improve staff accommodation at Busolwe hospital

BUTALEJA – To improve the delivery of health services at Busolwe General Hospital, the government has started constructing and renovating 74 housing units for the hospital’s workers.

Busolwe Hospital, found in Butaleja district, eastern Uganda, has 118 health workers, but the hospital can only provide housing for a small number of its workers.

The hospital’s medical superintendent, Dr. David Okanya, says that they are renovating 74 housing units.

The Staff houses which had gone without renovation for over 40 years were in an appalling state.

The construction and renovation contract was awarded to Uganda People’s Defence Force [UPDF] Engineering Brigade at Shs 6 billion.

The 100-bed hospital which serves both out-patients and in-patients operates not only in dilapidated structures but also lacks reliable electricity as well as basic health equipment and ultra-scan.

The hospital has never received a major renovation since its construction, although there have been minor repairs like painting and replacement of ceiling boards.

Available information indicates that some of the health workers live up to 15 kilometres away from the work station due to inadequate staff accommodation at the hospital.

Dr. Ivan Mukasa, Senior medical officer attached to Busolwe Hospital, said there is a need to expand staff accommodation to avoid late coming and absenteeism.

“We need all staff to be accommodated within the hospital to avoid late coming. Most of them cannot get money for rent. Female workers face a challenge in moving at night,” Dr. Mukasa said.

The facility also faces challenges of inadequate personnel, drugs, and other medical supplies, and has been operating without piped water for 15 years.

The hospital, which has been in dire condition since 1986, serves more than 200 patients on daily basis from various districts, including Budaka, Bugiri, Namutumba, and Tororo, also lacks enough oxygen cylinders and an x-ray machine.

Butaleja District Woman MP, Florence Andiru Nebanda, urged government to elevate Busolwe hospital to a regional referral facility if it is to provide holistic healthcare.

“We ask the government to change Busolwe hospital to a referral hospital once the overhaul renovation is complete. It’s an opportunity for our people. We shall have more medical treatment like specialists and medicines, ”she said, adding that it will help locals to have access to specialists, and consultants.

The hospital is overwhelmed by the increasing population, which comes from the neighboring districts yet it does not offer specialised treatment.

MP Nebanda added that “Because of the disrepair, many patients with not-too-complicated cases have to be referred over 50kms away to Mbale regional referral hospital, which is another cost to our poor people because of the poor road and costly transport. It also creates needless crowding and overloading Mbale hospital with small cases.”

The Butaleja District Chairperson Michael Higenyi Bory, said health workers have been staying in dilapidated buildings.

He said that construction that commenced six months ago, is at 45 percent.

“We can only provide accommodation to 74 staff in 74 housing units upon completion. The rest of the staff rent houses outside the hospital, trekking long distances to access the hospital which affects their daily productivity as they arrive at work late,” he said.

Isaac Mulera Budget, a board member of the hospital, said the ongoing renovation doesn’t include doctors’ houses.

“The doctors are sleeping under leaking roofs. I wonder how our doctors are going to work when they sleep under linking roofs,” Mulera said, adding that the hospital has eight doctors.

He added that “Even though the renovation is going on, it’s not enough for the staff. We want the works on the main hospital complex to start. None of the machines in the hospital are functional and the government should equip the hospital.”

Busolwe General Hospital admits over 100 patients daily and attends to 300 out-patients.

The hospital also lacks a modern ambulance.

Mulera asked government to expand the hospital, saying it will improve access to health services by the poor people.

Butaleja district with a population of 310,900 has 24 health facilities.

https://thecooperator.news/mps-quiz-masaka-hospital-boss-over-shs-2-5bln-inflated-contract/

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UPDF recovers over 150 head of cattle in Kotido district

NAPAK- 156 head of cattle reported to have been stolen by the suspected Jie cattle rustlers were recovered in Kotido district by the joint security team led by the Uganda People’s Defence Forces [ UPDF ].

The animals which were reportedly stolen from different kraals in Lorengecora Sub-county in Napak district on Sunday night were recovered on Wednesday morning by the security team.

An unspecified number of the Jie warriors from Kotido are reported to have injured one boy during the raid, even though the boy’s identity has not been established.

Maj. Isaac Oware, Mt. Moroto UPDF 3rd Division Spokesperson said the army responded after the residents reported the unfortunate incident.

“We received an alert from the locals that a lot of cattle had been stolen from Napak district by the cattle rustlers,” Maj. Oware stated.

According to him, the UPDF detachment in Napumpum carried out a two- days operation to recover all the stolen cattle by Wednesday morning.

The stolen cattle were recovered from the areas of Napumpum, Panyangara in Kotido district.

“The 156 stolen head of cattle were recovered by UPDF ground troops, supported by the airforce,” Oware said.

Oware said the UPDF would verify the rightful owners of the recovered animals before they can hand them over.

John Paul Kodet, the LCV chairperson Napak district, applauded the joint security team for the work well done.

He explained that the recovery of the looted animals was a result of a quick response by the joint security personnel comprising the UPDF and other forces in the districts of Napak and Kotido.

Meanwhile, the commander UPDF 3rd Division Mt. Moroto, Brig. Joseph Balikuddembe reiterated that the Force continues to track stolen animals in the Karamoja Sub-region.

“We shall continue working together with local authorities and other security agencies to track down the cattle rustlers and recover more of the stolen cattle,” he stated.

John Bosco Ngoya, the MP for Bokora County called for a review of the security strategy in the area, following increased insecurity characterized by cattle rustling.

Ngoya told this reporter that the security situation in Karamoja is appalling, further stating that government needs to devise a new approach to address the insecurity there.

“There is a need for government to commit to protecting the Karamojong who face the danger of starvation, poverty, and sickness,” he emphasised.

He explained that some citizens in Karamoja cannot sleep at night and that some have failed to herd their cattle because of rustlers suspected to be from Kenya, including the Pokot, Toposa, and other raiders from Somalia and South Sudan.

Simon Lokiru, one of the youth from Kotido district said Karamoja should be given the justice that it deserves.

He said government should train local defence operatives to deal with the cattle rustlers.

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UPDF medics undergo training in Ebola response

FORT PORTAL- The Uganda People’s Defense Forces [UPDF] in partnership with the Ministry of Health and World Health Organisation [WHO] have trained UPDF medical personnel on how to respond fast in case Ugandan soldiers operating in eastern DR Congo catch Ebola.

According to the UPDF deputy director of public health and coordinator of contingency plan against Ebola, Lt.Col.Dr.Francis Xavier Bakehena, they have put in place safeguard contingency measures in case the epidemic strikes in the areas where Ugandan soldiers under Operation Shujja are based in DR Congo.

Bakehena said although they have trained their soldiers specifically on Ebola, they are also tracking other epidemics like Monkeypox, Marburg, and other hemorrhagic fevers that are prevalent in DR Congo.

Bakehena was speaking during the training of 32 UPDF medical personnel from Mountain Division at Kalya Courts in Fort Portal city on Wednesday.

He said the training was intended to impart knowledge to health workers in detecting Ebola, and responding to alerts within the communities where UPDF operates in Eastern DR Congo.

“Currently, there are reports of Ebola outbreak in DR Congo [Mbadaka health risk zone] which is 200 kilometres away from where our troops are operating,” he said.

He said although authorities in DR Congo have declared the country Ebola-free, they don’t want to take chances.

Bakehena said in order to prevent the spread of Ebola and other hemorrhagic diseases, they will roll out a vaccination programme for all the troops operating in DR Congo and those surrounding the international b.

“We intend to vaccinate all our troops operating in DRC and those at the borderline right from West Nile up to Kisoro. We have also put our soldiers on alert. especially medics to report anybody with signs of Ebola,” he said.

During the training, officers were taught how to use personal protective gears, surgical respirators, how to carry out safe and dignified burial of Ebola cases, how to isolate Ebola suspects, contact tracing, sample collection, and testing.

Currently, there are no signs of the epidemic virus disease within operation Shujja area of operation.

https://thecooperator.news/health-ministry-warns-of-monkeypox/

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