Moroto, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The joint security forces fighting against cattle rustling in Karamoja have said there is a decline in cattle rustling in the region.
The forces have attributed it to the withdrawal of all the Karimojong local defence unit personnel who are now undergoing training and already, they have been given the force number to become UPDF soldiers.
Capt. Edrin Mawanda, the UPDF 3rd division spokesperson told URN that much as cattle theft is still going on, it has reduced compared to the time when the local defence unit personnel were still active in Karamoja.
“We are registering a decline in cattle rustling since the withdrawal of LDUs in Karamoja for further training,” he said.
Michael Longole, the Karamoja regional police spokesperson said Kaabong district which had become a daily place for raids by warriors now registers one raid in a period of one week, yet when the LDUs were around, the district could be hit by five raids in a week.
In 2010, President Museveni directed the recruitment of 2,400 local defence unit-LDU personnel in Karamoja to help consolidate the peace achieved by security agencies in the region since the disarmament program started in 2001.
But the LDUs instead became more aggressive in rustling cattle, forcing the army to withdrawal them and take them for further trainings.
Peter Loputhnyang, an elder said several guns that the army recovered from the raiders during fire exchange were UPDF branded guns given to the LDUs.
“The situation has calmed down since these LDUs were removed, this shows you that the whole problem was escalated by our own children who were supposed to work with the forces to flush out the few remaining criminals but they took advantage of using the same guns to cause insecurity in the region,” he said.
Paul Lokut, another elder said the LDUs had taken advantage of being outside the barracks to connive with their relatives who are not the LDUs to raid other districts.
“What used to happen is that these LDUs live together with their relatives in their homes and they were always being tempted to give out their guns to the relatives to use in raiding which was dangerous,” he said.
Jessica Angolere, a mother and a resident of Nakapelimen village in Nadunget sub county in Moroto district said after the training, they should not be taken back to Karamoja.