Uganda: Chaos as police arrest MP Ssekikubo over defying cattle quarantine

Mamos Media

Lwemiyaga County MP Sekikubo being arrested. He together with some livestock farmers in the area attempted to forcefully enter Lwemiyaga Cattle Market which police closed last week following a recent quarantine imposed on the district. PHOTO BY ISSA ALIGA 

By WILSON KUTAMBA & MALIK FAHAD JJINGO

Police in Sembabule District on Friday morning was compelled to fire teargas and live bullets to break up a weekly cattle market in Lwemiyaga County and consequently arrested the area MP Theodore Ssekikubo accusing him of defying quarantine imposed in the area.

This was after Mr Ssekikubo and livestock farmers in the area attempted to forcefully enter Lwemiyaga Cattle Market which police closed last week.

In the ensuing melee, police under the command of Masaka Regional Police Commander, Mr Enock Abaine intercepted the group, arrested Mr Ssekikubo and six other herdsmen and whisked them away in a police patrol.

This is the second time in less than a month Ssekikubo together with a group of herdsmen have attempted to sell their cattle at the market. On December 20, the group succeeded and sold over 100 cows at the market in defiance of a quarantine that was recently declared in the area by veterinary officials, following a reported outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD).

However, Ssekikubo and the herdsmen insist some parts of the district like Lwemiyaga were placed under quarantine yet no cases of FMD has been reported there. By press time Mr Ssekikubo was still being held at Masaka regional police, waiting to record a statement.

Mr Edward Kizza, a farm manager in Lwemiyaga says that FMD outbreak was reported in Mitima Sub County which he says is far away from Lwemiyaga wondering why people in Lwemiyaga should suffer when their area is free of the disease.

Mr Paul Kangave, the southern regional police spokesperson said Mr Ssekikubo and six others will be charged with defying quarantine which is contrary to Animal Diseases (Amendment) Act 2005.

According to Section 7 and Section 29 of Animal Diseases (Amendment) Act 2005, no person shall remove from a place of quarantine any animal, carcass, fodder, wool, butter, ghee or dung except with the sanction of inspecting officer.

A person who contravenes such rules is liable to a fine not exceeding Shs100, 000 or imprisonment for a period not exceeding a month or both.

He said they have a letter from the district veterinary department asking police to enforce the ban on transportation and sale of cattle and dairy products in the district.

“The quarantine affects livestock farmers who are in a radius of 20km and Lwemiyaga is just 7 km away which indicates that it’s also affected,” he said.

Mr Kangave asked the herdsmen to remain calm until the ban is lifted because, insisting that police will not allow cattle markets to operate when FMD is still a problem in the area.

Source Daily Monitor.

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