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The Rise of the 'traider': the Commercialization of Raiding in Karamoja

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The majority of published material on the commercialization of raiding in Karamoja deals with warlords or other elite conflict entrepreneurs. This article suggests that commercialization has also triggered profound changes at a more local level. Based on a range of interviews within the region, it will argue that commercial forces have made possible the rise of the 'traider'. 'Traiders', or livestock traders who were or are raiders themselves, use inside information to purchase stolen cattle from thieves immediately after an attack. Frustrated victims argue that 'traiders' can easily launder the proceeds of a theft, rendering the recovery of stolen cattle almost impossible. Unfortunately, the Ugandan state's punitive approach to law enforcement makes them ill-suited to the more sophisticated investigations necessary to capture 'traiders' and earn the trust of Karamoja's inhabitants.


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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