MOROTO – The government has turned down the request by the Karamojong pastoralists to be given back guns so that they can protect their livestock and the property against the armed Turkana pastoralists who are raiding them every day.
Karamojong allege that since this month, the armed Turkana pastoralists have been attacking, raiding their animals in Kotido, Napak and Kaabong.
The incident has forced hundreds of the Karamojong pastoralists to flee their Kraals for their dear lives and settle near the army barracks in Nakapelimoru.
This caused the section of them to appeal to the government to give them back their guns to protect their livestock.
The Karamojong have become toothless after the government in 2001 launched disarmament exercise and collected more than 50,000 guns from the pastoralists.
Mr John Lokol, one of the pastoralists during the recent security meeting with the Moroto district leaders requested that the government should give them back guns and UPDF goes for two weeks’ leave to allow them sort out with the armed Turkana.
However, speaking to PML Daily, Mr.John Byabagambi, the minister for Karamoja affairs said the government will not make the mistake to give the Karamojong back guns.
“Government will not make that mistake to give guns back to the Karamojong pastoralists because it was very hard to attain the current peace which is in Karamoja now,” he said.
Mr. Byabagambi instead attributed the continuous attack by the armed Turkana pastoralists on Karamojong to the leadership gap at the local governments in the region.
“The attacks by Turkana pastoralists on the Karamojong is caused by leadership gap because I have documents here since August this year the Turkana pastoralists grazing in Uganda have been writing letters and letters through the peace committee leaders to have a meeting and resolve other things but no leader at the local government in Karamoja listened too,” he said.
According to Mr. Byabagambi, some Karamojong pastoralists have also been stealing the animals of the Turkana and when the Turkana complained the leaders in Karamoja didn’t act forcing the Turkana to revenge which he condemned.
He said the situation has been put under control by the army and appealed the Karamojong to calm down.
But Mr. Joseph Lomonyang the district LCV chairperson of Napak who also doubles as the President of Uganda Local Governments Association disagreed with the Minister’s statement that he attributed the current attack by the Turkana on Karamojong as leadership gap.
“When the government launched disarmament exercise in Karamoja, it was championed by lower local leaders now if the minister says local leadership gap I don’t know maybe somewhere,” he said.