The Muslim community in Gulu city is in arms against Geoffrey Otum, the chairman of Gulu main abattoir for permitting non-Muslims to slaughter animals for public consumption. Otum reportedly permitted non-Muslims to slaughter 12 cattle and 9 goats on Wednesday morning when Muslim butchers decided to lay down their tools protesting low slaughter fees.
Any animal or bird slaughtered by a non-Muslim is not considered Halal by Muslims, which means impermissible. According to Islamic law, traditional halal meat is killed by hand in line with strict Islamic laws on slaughtering animals.
Sheikh Musa Khalil, the Kadhi Acholi Muslim District says that butchers currently earn a paltry Shillings 500 for each animal they slaughter, which is far less compared to the fees in other districts. He says that they wrote several letters to the City Clerk asking his office to consider increasing the fees to UGX 5,000, but didn’t get any response prompting Muslim butchers to lay down their tools on Wednesday.
Sheikh Khalil however says that the Muslim community learnt with shock that the chairman of the battoir went ahead to allow non-Muslims to slaughter animals, something he says did not only expose the Muslims to eating unclean meat but can potentially trigger religious clashes between Muslims and members of other faiths.
Sheik Ismael Ali Omona, the Imam of Gulu main mosque who also doubles as the head of laughter in Acholi Muslim District, says that they have opened a case of conspiracy against Otum Geoffrey at Gulu Central Police Station vide SD 25/01/09/2021.
However, Otum has denied the accusations, saying that all the animals from the abattoir were slaughtered by Muslim butchers. On Wednesday afternoon, Denise Odongpiny, the Gulu Resident City Commissioner summoned the Muslim community headed by Sheikh Musa, Gulu City Mayor Alfred Okwonga and Bardege-Layibi Division Mayor, Patrick Lumumba Oola for a meeting to resolve the matter.
Alfred Okwonga, the Gulu City Mayor appealed to Muslim butchers to continue slaughtering animals until the issue of fees is sorted out at a later time. Gulu has five gazetted animal slaughter points. These include the main abattoir, Lacor Trading Center, Obiya-Highland, Unyama Trading Center and Bungatira Trading Center where over 20 animals are slaughtered daily including cattle, goats and sheep.