KOTIDO – Traders running businesses in Karamoja have expressed fears over resurrecting insecurity and road ambushes planted by the Karimojong cattle rustlers.
Over the last two months, there have been a lot of raids and killings between Turkana armed Pastoralists and Karimojong of Kotido.
The incident started on October 15, 2019, between Jie of Kotido and Turkana which has now spread to other districts of Karamoja.
Patrick Kinei, one of the traders in Kaabong said they are no longer moving freely along Kotido, Kaabong road after the killing of two students by suspected warriors last week.
“These warriors are most likely to gain more courage of laying ambushes on the road because many incidents have taken place without any solution from government,” she said.
Mr. Ambrose Tukei, the district LCV chairperson Kotido said the resurrecting insecurity in Karamoja was taking the region back to where it was before the government launched disarmament exercise and collected over 50,000 guns in Karamoja.
“What we are seeing right now is that Karamoja is going back to the previous situation because the government has not done well to address the issues,” he said.
Mr. Francis Kiyonga, the district LCV chairperson of Amudat said the situation has been made worse by the massive withdrawal of UPDF soldiers from Karamoja to Somalia.
According to Mr. Kiyonga, the armed cattle thieves have taken advantage of few soldiers on the ground to start causing insecurity in Karamoja.
In 2017 UPDF authority withdrew over 2,700 soldiers under 3rd division in different field including Artilleries, have been withdrawn for refresher training for Somalia mission.
“We had questioned the sudden transfer of soldiers in Karamoja but army said the soldiers taken from Karamoja were being replaced with those brought back from Somalia but we don’t see them,” he said.
Mr. Kiyonga said the army withdrew the soldiers from Karamoja yet they were still 5% of the estimated guns that supposed to be collected from the hands of the Karimojong.
Mr. John Nangiro the district chairperson of Nakapiripirit in telephone interviews told this website that karamoja is most likely to go back where it started from should the government become reluctant to address the issues.
He said Karamoja still needs heavily presence of UPDF adding that signs of rearmament are already going since the warriors have known that soldiers are thin on the ground.
Mr. Samson Lokeris, the Member of Parliament for Dodoth East in Kaabong district said the current achieved peace in Karamoja was on the verge of collapsing should the government fails to intervene.
Maj Telesphor Turyamumanya, the 3rd Division spokesperson confirmed the current insecurity situation in the region but said no cause of alarm.
He said UPDF has intensified their intelligence and they are arresting cattle thieves and also recovering animals from them.
“Yes were are aware of the situation but we are putting under control so there is no cause of alarm,” he said.