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Complexities of Livestock Raiding in Karamoja

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Karimojong define different motives for raiding: restocking, retaliation, and theft for sale on markets. This article focuses on the third type, or akoko raiding, which operates outside of the informal governance system of the elders, and is necessitated by short-term livelihood needs for some, and driven by profiteering for others. It may be done in large groups, or small groups of youths, and may be managed by racketeers, or richer cattle owners who loan out weapons. This article looks at the relationship of akoko raiding with the markets, including international trade to Kenya and the issue of border security. It notes that there are links to powerful urban-based figures, and that the huge wealth of Karamoja is enriching only a few. It makes the point that policing of the markets should be a major focus of conflict mitigation. Instead disarmament policies continue to focus on pastoralist communities, bringing no reduction in raiding violence and adding another layer to the conflict: that of the state versus the community.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 17, 2010

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  • Nomadic Peoples is an international journal published by the White Horse Press for the Commission on Nomadic Peoples, International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences. Its primary concerns are the current circumstances of all nomadic peoples around the world and their prospects. Its readership includes all those interested in nomadic peoples, scholars, researchers, planners and project administrators.
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