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KARAMOJA DISARMAMENT 88% SUCCESSFUL-UPDF

Maj Isaac Oware, UPDF’s Third Division Spokesman

BY TIMOTHY EODU AND MATHEW ABEKSON

KOTIDO: TUESDAY, JULY 26, 2022

As the current disarmament exercises marks one year and 10 days, the joint security forces of Uganda Peoples Defence Forces-UPDF and Anti Stock Theft Unit-ASTU have boasted for having achieved 88% of the set targets.

This was revealed by the 3rd division commander, Brig. Gen Joseph Balikudembe during a press conference at the division headquarters.

He said the “Usalama Kwa Wote” operation has yielded very positive fruits as evidenced by the arrest of errant criminal figures and also guns recovered.

Gen Balikudembe added that out of the 500 profiled illegal guns, the joint security has managed to recover 438 (226 in past two months) with 3,315 ammunitions seized.

The Division court martial was able to convict 650 warriors and 25,206 livestock recovered out of 42,000 that were reportedly raided from July last year up to date.

Gen Balukudembe added that a number of local leaders who supported raiders and were involved in targeted murders of innocent people have also since been arrested including the lC3 chairman of Lokopo and his speaker who are on remand over their alleged involvement in the murder of the area GISO.

According to the commandant ASTU CP Elias Kasirabo, the major problem that had facilitated raids was lack of regulated cattle markets but ever since measures were put in place, there have been reduced cases of cattle raids in the region.

He said part of the regulations included authorization of animal movements by the LC system, documentation of the purchasing process (taking photos), profiling of the 21 cattle markets in the region for easy monitoring and deployment which was instrumental in fighting commercialized raids.

The disclosures come two days after the security forces killed four armed rustlers and recovered as many guns in the past two days.

This followed incidences of failed cattle rustling by the warriors in Kotido district, Maj Isaac Oware, the UPDF’s third Division spokesman has said.

He said the first two guns were recovered at 10:00pm on Monday night when the warriors attempted to raid cattle from Lopuyo kraal.

The duo was armed with two SMG riffles and 11 rounds of ammunitions but were gunned down when security forces engaged them to thwart the theft of the animals.

Maj Oware said the other gun was recovered from Loryang Apakapel, a resident of Komur sub-county in Kotido district and another from Naduk Lopalosil in Nakapelimoru sub-county following a cordon and search operation in which the resisting warriors were also taken out of action.

“Our operations are aimed at degrading the capabilities of the criminals and restoring stability and security in Karamoja,” emphasized Maj Oware.

“We want Karamoja to move to another level. We call upon the public to support and cooperate with the security forces. We ask local leaders and elders to denounce criminality by the warriors,” he added.

The division spokesman disclosed that the latest recoveries bring to 226, the total number of guns recovered from Karamojong cattle raiders since President Yoweri Museveni issued fresh orders to breath energy into the disarmament exercise in Karamoja on May 16, 2022.

UPDF Display guns recovered from Karamojong warriors

In the two months since the commencement of the operations, about 780 ammunitions have also been recovered in addition to the guns through both voluntary surrender and forceful operations.

“Let people surrender peacefully because it has no major bad effects. There is amnesty for them and we normally register them to be given social assistance by the office of the Prime Minister,” Maj Oware explained.

“But should they fail to give up voluntarily, we shall go forcefully for them,” he warned the warriors.

He added that guns are a monopoly of the security forces and the Karamojong warriors have no reason for illegal possession of guns which have been misused to commit murder, raid and steal cattle of the villagers and neighboring communities.

He blamed the porous international borders to the North and Northeast for the continued proliferation of illegal guns in the region, saying most of the recovered guns come through those entry points and appealed for political will from the neighboring countries to fight proliferation of fire arms.

Meanwhile the Mt. Moroto regional Police commander, Francis Chemusto, added that the major driving factors for criminality in Karamoja as illegal guns, crude alcohol misuse, food shortage, revenge, negative political influence and commercialized raids.

In Kidepo policing region alone 1, 355 Jerricans alcohol were destroyed through court order.

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