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Confrontation will not end conflicts in Karamoja: Peace activists

Brig. Joseph Balikudembe, the UPDF division commander

Moroto, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | A group of peace activists in Karamoja have asked the government to embark on peace dialogue with the Karamojong instead of taking the confrontation approach which they say will never yield any success.

On the 17th of July 2021, the government relaunched another disarmament exercise after the Karamojong acquired guns and became aggressive by rustling cattle and waylaying vehicles.

The exercise that started as voluntary disarmament turned out to be forceful disarmament after the Karamojong became stubborn, attacking army detachments and killing soldiers and taking away their guns.

However, Isaiah Lokiru, a peace activist and a resident of Nakapiripirit district in an interview with URN on Monday said the current situation in Karamoja can only be fixed if the government chooses dialogue.

“I remember the previous disarmament exercise succeeded principally because the government had taken dialogue as a priority although there was an operation also and it worked very well,” he said.

Mathew Dengel, another activist said the confrontation approach will never end the current conflicts in the region.

“The confrontation approach government is now taking on the Karamojong rustlers will instead worsen the situation yet this is something that can be resolved by dialogue,” he said.

Bosco Lochomin, another activist said the people of Karamoja need jobs.

“Government needs to create jobs for the people of Karamoja because this current situation happens because people are redundant, nothing to eat,” he said.

Major Isaac Oware, the UPDF 3rd Division spokesperson said the UPDF and police have held several dialogue meetings with communities in Karamoja but who don’t appreciate it.

“We have held several dialogue meetings with the community in Karamoja even up to now we are still in dialogue with the Karamojong but they don’t respect the dialogue,” he said.

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