MOROTO – Persisting cattle rustling by the Karimojong warriors has forced Leaders in the region to demanded for fresh re-disarmament exercise to get out the remaining guns currently use by Karimojong cattle rustlers’ destabilizing the current peace in Karamoja.
There is a lot of inter-district cattle raids between Matheniko of Moroto, Jie of Kotido, Dodoth of Kaabong, Bokora of Napak and Pokots of Amudat to Pian of Nakapiripirit and Nabilatuk districts.
The cattle theft that started slowly on October 15, 2019, has intensified nonstop with warriors clashing with UPDF soldiers on a daily basis.
Mr. John Baptist Lokii, the Member of Parliament for Matheniko County said the resuming cattle rustling was an indication that there was rearmament going on in the hands of the Karimojong.
“We call upon the government to launch another serious phase of re-disarmament in Karamoja because we have realized that most people in Karamoja have again acquired guns,” he said.
Francis Kiyonga, the LCV chairperson of Amudat district said the government has been silent to the several calls by the Karamoja leaders on the need for re-disarmament exercise to be in the region.
“Although army still carrying disarmament now they are basing on intelligence they are not doing it the way they used to do and collect many guns,” he said.
Mr. Mark Abuku, the district LCV chairperson Kaabong said the situation is made worse by the porous border of Uganda, Kenya, Sudan and South Sudan.
Major Telesphar Turyamumanya, the UPDF 3rd division commander said the leaders are entitled to their demand but said the army is under the command and advised the leaders to follow the right channels.
“If the leaders are crying for the re-disarmament to be re-launched, UPDF is under the command and they are steps to be followed otherwise we are on the grounds collecting guns and if we knew where many guns are we would go for them,” he said.
Between 2001-2002, the government launched the first phase of disarmament exercise comprised voluntary disarmament in Karamoja, however, it didn’t yield good results since the armed Karimojong refused to give out the guns and became more aggressive to the army because they were being supported by some few leaders in the region.
This prompted the army to change tactics of the exercise from voluntary disarmament to forceful and cordon and search exercise and by the end of 2003, the army had collected 10,000 guns. UPDF continued with the exercise until they managed to collect a total of over 50,000 guns.
After the collection of the guns, Karamoja enjoyed peace until last year in October when the armed Karimojong resumed laying road ambushes and raiding animals.