Story By Steven Ariong
Napak: A year of 2006 exchanging smile and laughing with Augustino Nangiro a cattle rustler was something that everyone could not try because the commander of warriors was very hostile and his appearance was covered with killing, rob and stealing livestock.
During those days nobody would wish to talk to Nangiro even his own relatives ,
“I recalled one day it was a Thursday when we laid an ambush in Kamusalaba on the high way of Moroto, Nakapiripirit road by then raid was real when the cattle traders dared traveling from Pallisa, Mbale, Bugisu and Teso districts in their two fuso lories to buy animal in Moroto district they succeeded and they bought about 70 cattle and loaded them to their trucks but on their way back, we ambushed and killed all of them and took their animals’- recalls Nangiro
The ambush was laid by about 13 armed Karimojong warriors who were commanded by Augustine Nangiro, the warriors killed all the 16 traders and they took their animals including the money the traders had.
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Nangiro abandoned his home in Lonangat Village, Natopojo Parish in Nabilatuk district at the age of 14years and spent most of his time in the wilderness raiding cattle from the neighboring districts and ambushing vehicles killing people, his first raid he says started in Turkana where he succeeded and raided 200 heads of cattle but he sold all and crossed to Southern Sudan to buy more strong weapons.
When he bought new weapons from Turkanas in Kenya he didn’t use them for the long time before giving them to other warriors whom he went along with to raid again in Turkana.
“I remember it was a Monday when I went with a group of 40 armed Karimojong warriors to lay an ambush for the second time at a grazing area in Turkana, it was tough this time around, we raided 340 heads of cattle but as I was coming back with cows with my colleagues, we fell in a serious ambush by UPDF soldiers, we fought with UPDF soldiers for about four hours and we killed all 9 UPDF soldier I also lost 14 of my colleagues,” he narrates.
He said the animals got scattered and he took off with other three of his colleagues for their dear lives because the army had come with helicopter to look for them
According to Nangiro after he commanded the fight that killed the six UPDF soldiers he was put under number 15 of the most wanted warriors on the army list.
“The army launched serious hunting for me after killing soldiers, so I fled living in Turkana for about 2 years, from there my relatives started consulting the army to pardon me. When the army pardoned me that was all the turning point and I stopped living in the bushes and killing people along the roads, “he tells this website.
He said he tried to be with people at the village but people including his relatives were fearing him because of his past behaviors of raiding animals.
“When I realized that I was somehow now free I joined the group of youth who were making bricks for sale but it was difficult because I was not used to such activity,” Nangiro states.
He started again charcoal burning but still it was very difficult for him until when he thought of selling tomatoes.
Nangiro’s luck was after he become one of the many people trained by Ecological Christians organization ECO a Christian organization in conjunction with UNFAO to be trained on how to make animal mineral lick stone using burns.
Mineral lick block is essential vitamins which contains salt, essential macro and micro trace elements including calcium and phosphorus.
This stone also contains added vitamins required for optimum performance for use in breeds and ages of cattle, goats and sheep.
It also has minerals which are very import for milk production, appetite, growth rate and fighting infertility from the animals.
“What we are now getting from making mineral lick stone is much better than what I used to get through killing people I have regretted a time I wasted in the bush if I had been making this mineral lick stone, I would also be rich like other farmers”- Nangiro tells this website
Nangiro who doubles as Chairperson of their group says they are now making animal lick stones to sale to other districts.
Paul Lokol the district chairperson Nabilatuk said Skilling the Karimojong reformed youth would help in eliminating criminality in the society and calls upon other development partners to always concentrate in rendering skills to the youth instead of giving them handouts.
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