Moroto, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Leaders in the Karamoja sub-region have demanded the return of the Local Defense Unit-LDU personnel to help curb the escalating insecurity in the region.
The leaders argue that the withdrawal of the LDUs was a big blow for Karamoja and that the available security personnel have failed to address cases of insecurity.
In July, the Uganda People’s Defence Forces-UPDF demobilized all LDU personnel in the Karamoja region due to acts of misconduct. The LDUs were accused of misusing government stores in their possession by hiring out the guns and uniforms to criminals and participating in cattle rustling.
However, the leaders observe that since the LDUs were integrated into the army, the cattle rustlers have taken advantage of the vacuum to carry on their dubious acts.
Remigo Achia, the Chairperson Karamoja Parliamentary Group who also doubles as MP Nabilatuk district, says there is a need to revise the strategies used in the current disarmament.
He warned people against categorizing raiding in Karamoja as tribal but instead join hands to look for workable solutions to address the matter than lamenting.
John Nangiro, the LCV chairperson Nakapiripirit says that it was a big blow for the army to phase out the LDUs because it is them who understand the terrain of the Karamoja region.
David Koryang, the LCV chairperson Moroto acknowledged that failure to recover stolen animals and false identification is one of the issues cited as the main drivers of insecurity.
Koryang questioned why the impounded cows disappear from the detaches and blamed the security forces for excluding leaders from the disarmament process.
Brig. Joseph Balikudembe, the UPDF 3rd Division Commander confirmed that the animal raids in the region have been commercialized, blaming local council leaders for concealing information and issuing forged documents authorizing the movement of stolen animals.
Brig Balikudembe says in the month of January, February, and March, there was an increase in cattle raids mainly conducted by Jie warriors from Kotido.
The leaders also resolved that they change the top leadership of UPDF 3rd division accusing the system of corruption which has led to the rampant theft of cattle in the region and the neighboring districts.