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Karamoja leaders disagree with disarmament method

Guns picked up in a recent disarmament effort. File Photo

Kotido, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Local leaders in Karamoja have expressed reservations about the methods employed by the army and police in the ongoing disarmament exercise. The police and army launched the joint voluntary disarmament exercise on July 17th, 2021.

However, only 100 guns and 1,049 rounds of ammunition have been recovered. Joseph Komol, the Kotido district LC V chairperson says that unlike the previous disarmament exercise, this time around the rustlers have not felt the ongoing disarmament exercise.

He says that Karamoja will never return to a peaceful environment as long as the security forces continue with the cordon and search intelligence-led disarmament. “As leaders, we are not registering any progress in this disarmament because the cattle rustlers are still carrying on massive raids each day even when the army and police are disarming them, “he said.

Jino Lokol, Kaabong district LC V chairperson, says that the disarmament conducted in 2001 to 2008 was rough and yielded results. “The peace we enjoyed for the last ten years was not got with this kind of operation of voluntarism, but it was through the forceful cordon and search operations, “he said.

Joseph Lokol, the Nabilatuk district LC V chairperson says that the rustlers have mastered the current mode of operation by the security forces, saying it will not yield any results until the forces use force. “We are not able to monitor projects in the district because all the time we are in the bush chasing after rustle animals, which is not good, “he said.

But Michael Longole, the Karamoja Region Police Spokesperson says that they have given the rustlers some time to voluntarily hand over their guns. He says that the joint force has established 100-gun collection centres across the region.

According to Longole, each sub-county has a gun collection centre where warriors can freely hand over their guns. “We will reach to that level the leaders want, but first, we are giving the rustlers a short period so that when we switch to force, there will be no excuse, “he said.

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