In Uganda, Venerable Crime of Cattle Rustling Has Turned Deadly

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Livestock raids have been a fact of life among Ugandan tribes for most of their history.

The Los Angeles Times reports the raids traditionally were sanctioned by village elders and carried out by a select cadre of fighters. Tribes usually participated in the raids with sportsmanlike respect for rules and procedures: no raiding during drought or famine, no killing unless absolutely necessary, no taking livestock other than cows, no harming women or children, no looting or burning.

That is changing.

Last month, hundreds of raiders dashed into a Ugandan village on tire-track sandals, their beaded collars flapping and red mini-kilts folded high on the thigh – the warrior way. By raid’s end, the fighters had taken away scores of sheep, 300 goats and 600 head of cattle.

And 30 villagers – mostly women and children – were dead.


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