The increasing number of people being killed by armed rustlers in Karamoja sub region prompted residents from two town councils of Abim and Kiru in Karamoja sub region to stage a riot where roads were blocked in fear of losing their lives to armed cattle rustlers.
Hon Jimbricky Norman Ochero the Labwor country Member of Parliament while appearing on RX Radio’s Fatboy Show informed that previously the UPDF embarked on disarmament programs in 2000, where almost 80 percent of armed residents were disarmed and the region enjoyed peace until 2016.
Unfortunately in 2017, the program ceased and this left room for insecurity once again. The tensions of rustling cattle began as raids between the malik and jio. The armed struggles according to Ochero grew to include other tribes such as the Turkans from Kenya who joined the Malaliko, stretching to as far as Kabong District.
Asked about the leaders’ response to this insecurity, Ochero said that, “as leaders when this started, we made a lot of effort to mobilize our people and communities advocating for peace. We moved around mobilizing local leaders but as armed people, they couldn’t listen. We thought the army could have backed up our mobilization with effective deployment . But the forces on ground were numbered, even the LDU personnel were withdrawn and absorbed in the UPDF leaving an even bigger gap,” he explained.
Recently, the UPDF came out to dismiss the pictures showing three geologists killed together with a UPDF officer while conducting mineral mapping in the region. However, the UPDF disregarded it as doctored information. However the Honorable notified that even before this incident Karamjongs had been losing their lives and they too mattered.
The parliamentarian added that a document named Karamoja Integrated Development Project was introduced to parliament aimed at not only disarming Karamojongs physically but also emotionally through empowerment, ensuring that Karamajongs get access to education to limit those recruited into raids. This move is to deter future unrest. There is also inclusion of agriculture besides cattle keeping to reduce the tension brought about dependence on cattle keeping in addition to promoting the cattle economy.
Recently, the UPDF came out to dismiss the pictures showing three geologists killed together with a UPDF officer while conducting mineral mapping in the region. However, the UPDF disregarded it as doctored information. However the Honorable notified that even before this incident Karamjongs had been losing their lives.
Last year at least 251 suspected cattle rustlers were killed in Karamoja by a joint operation done by the Police and army in disarmament operations.
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