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Karamoja parliamentary caucus queries utilization of UGX 87Bn disarmament budget

Karamoja parliamentary caucus led by Achia Remigio. File Photo

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Karamoja parliamentary caucus has raised concern about the utilization of the Shillings 87.3 billion allocated by parliament under the supplementary budget for the ongoing disarmament exercise.

Led by the Karamoja Parliamentary Caucus chairperson Achia Remigio, the legislators noted that there is nothing on the ground to reflect the money that was recently approved by parliament.

The Pian County legislator noted that security forces continue to face challenges of lack of fuel, motor vehicles, and other sundries despite the approval of Shillings 87.3billion to support the disarmament exercise.

Karamoja sub-region has experienced insecurity over the last three years following renewed cattle raids and road ambushes. On July 17th, 2021, the police and army launched the 3rd disarmament exercise to recover illegal guns and ammunition from the rustlers. So far, 155 guns and 1,511 rounds of ammunition have been recovered.

Remigio has advised the Uganda People’s Defence Forces-UPDF and police leadership to quickly sit down with local leaders like MPs, Resident District Commissioners-RDCs, and District Internal Security Officers-DISOs and agree on the operational guidelines.

He says that the guidelines will help avoid mistakes that marred the previous disarmament exercise such as human rights violations, victimization, mistaken identity, same name problem, torture, bribery, long detention, and other challenges.

He also called for expeditious screening of suspects to avoid hoarding people in one place for a very long time. “We note that the intelligence operatives have been reorganized, new ones recruited, and that mobile phones have been provided to the village and kraal-based operatives and are doing a great job despite some complaints by the communities against some Gombolola Internal Security Officers-GISOs,” Remigio said.

Faith Nakut, the Napak Woman MP emphasized that the detention centers should be human friendly and the disarmament process be intelligence-led.

Moses Aleper, the Chekwii County MP also said that human rights should be protected during the disarmament exercise. He said that local leaders should be involved in the cordon and search processes.

Sylvia Awas, the Nabilatuk Woman MP said that UPDF and other security forces should define better means of rounding up suspects without inconveniencing other people and businesses.

Albert Lokoru, the Tepeth County MP said that they support the disarmament exercise but it should not bring more suffering to the people of Karamoja. “It should minimize as much as possible, loss of lives.

The good thing, there is goodwill from all stakeholders to ensure that guns are taken away so that the Karamajongs engage in productive and meaningful activities geared towards transformation,” said Lokoru.

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