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Karamoja gets UGX 39 Billion for disarmament exercise

Guns picked up in the ongoing disarmament exercise. File Photo

Moroto, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Government has released 39 billion Shillings for supporting the ongoing disarmament exercise in Karamoja region.

This was revealed by the Minister for Karamoja Affairs Mary Goreti Kitutu while officially opening the one day Karamoja regional security review meeting held in Moroto on Thursday.

The minister noted that it has been so hard to address the current situation in Karamoja due to lack of resources, adding that before she was appointed as minister for Karamoja affairs, the region was only getting only 10billion shillings for the entire year.

She said 10 billion shillings was too little to help address the overwhelming issues affecting Karamoja such as insecurity, water, hunger and child trafficking.

“Our colleagues have been blaming us so much that we were not performing because of the current Karamoja situation, but they didn’t know that our budget was too small to handle the issues,” she explained.

According to the minister, they have struggled a lot together with her colleague Agnes Nandutu to see that the budget for Karamoja is increased.

“As we speak right now, the ministry of finance has released for us 39billion shillings which will now help us to manage the current situation including the ongoing disarmament,” she said.

Kitutu was accompanied by two other ministers Agnes Nandutu, state minister for Karamoja and Vincent Ssempija, the Minister for Defence and Veterans Affairs.

Vincent Ssempija called upon the soldiers and police deployed in Karamoja to try what they can to see that Karamoja normalizes.

“Karamoja is part of Uganda, if the insecurity is not well dealt with in the region, it will spill to the entire country,” he said.

Ssempija revealed that as minister for defence, he has suspended meetings in Kampala adding that all meetings geared to help the community must be conducted at the grassroots.

He said there’s no war in Karamoja but it’s just unfortunate that some Ugandans in Karamoja have taken up guns killing people and stealing their animals.

Karamoja region has over the last three years experienced chaos after the Karimojong cattle rustlers resumed carrying out cattle raids and road ambushes.

The joint force of police and army on 17th July last year launched the 3rd phase of disarmament and so far a total 155 guns have been recovered alongside 1,511 rounds of ammunition.

But still the situation is not improving, as death is reported every day, with at least one being killed by rustlers across the region.

Maruk Lokongo, one of the cross border peace activists however said the money might end up being eaten by individuals without a tangible impact realized in the region.

He said Karamoja needs fresh commanders with fresh command skills that will help neutralize the intelligence of the rustlers.

“As long as the same commanders are still on the ground, nothing will stop the raids in Karamoja, and that money will just end up in some people’s stomachs,” he predicted.

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