The security situation in the Karamoja region is gradually returning to normal, three years after deadly raids that have claimed hundreds of civilians, security authorities have announced.
Karamoja region has witnessed a transition from deadly cattle rustling to relative calm following countless joint security operations conducted by the Army and Police.
Isaac Oware, the UPDF 3rd Infantry Division spokesperson told media over the weekend that no major incident was reported over the last two weeks. Oware said that they have been stepping up the number of troops on the ground to carry out day and night patrols with the view to strengthening the protection of civilians and recovery of illegal firearms from the suspected cattle rustlers.
Oware said that they have also intensified the joint UPDF and Police patrols along the borderlines of Kenya, Sudan and Uganda to limit the entry of illegal guns into the region. He revealed that the additional manpower they recieved recently has helped to bridge the gaps in terms of securing the grazing areas and pursuing the criminal elements across the region.
Cosmas Ayepa, the Moroto District Social Services Secretary pledged to continue working with the security forces to ensure that peace comes back to its original position so as to welcome the development partners.
‘’Karamojongs has been widely criticized for carrying out armed raids against neighbouring districts but I’m happy the situation is coming back to normal,’’ Ayepa said. Ayepa said the remaining cases of insecurity are isolated, adding that the public should stop scaring away the investors who want to develop the region.
Emmanuel Lobot, the Looro sub-county peace committee chairperson in Amudat district attributed the restoration of peace to collaboration among the communities, local leaders and security forces across the region.
Lobot said the gradual peace is a result of community engagement and sensitization, adding that local government leaders have been traversing the region begging the communities to embrace peace. He noted that Karamoja has never experienced lasting peace but they are pushing for it to pave way for development in the region.
‘’We have been crying loud and it went to the crowd of the youth or karachuna, women and men, it was definitely positive’’ he said. Godfrey Pulkol, the Kaabong District Youth Councillor acknowledged that peace is returning slowly compared to the previous days when cattle raids were at their peak.
Pulkol said that they are still troubled by the porous borders between Uganda and Kenya, which puts Turkana warriors at a high chance of raids. He noted that there are still illegal guns in the hands of Karamojong warriors, which calls for continued disarmament so that the guns are silenced completely in the region.
Justin Tuko, the Moroto Deputy Resident District Commissioner, said that they have given more time to warriors to surrender their weapons to the government but those who resist may wait for the consequences when caught forcefully.
Tuko says that once all the illegal weapons are collected, the government has promised to give the warriors corrugated iron sheets to build permanent houses.
Currently, the communities and their local leaders across the districts of Karamoja are using the caravan approach to restore order in the region.
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