Kotido, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | A team of United Nations World Food Program, WFP stationed in Karamoja are gripped with shock after a section of their team was ambushed and robbed by armed Karamojong cattle rustlers.
The UN officials were ambushed on Thursday morning as they were heading for field work in Kotido district.
This is the first attack on UN staff in Karamoja after 15 years of peace following the disarmament exercise of 2004, which brought peace in the region.
URN has learnt that UN staff that had suspended use of escort vans while moving to the field in Karamoja due to peace and security are now rethinking of reintroducing the escorts.
Moses Akena, the Kotido district police commander confirmed the attack on UN officials describing it as unfortunate.
He said no official was shot, apart from being held at gunpoint while being robbed. They mostly lost mobile phones and money to the gun-wielding cattle rustlers.
DPC Akena confirmed that the incident took place in Kokoria village, Kacheri sub county, Kotido district and was the first to target UN vehicles after more than 15 years.
He said the joint security team is currently hunting for the rustlers and assured the general public that they will be brought to book.
“We happy that no life was lost or injured apart from losing mobile phones and money, but still this is criminal and the public should remain calm,” he said.
Joseph Lobur, one of the residents in Kotido said the current insecurity situation in Karamoja may get worse should government continue with laxity.
He said the effect of the soldiers and police carrying out disarmament exercise in Karamoja has not been felt.
“They are many soldiers and police on the ground but honestly, we are not seeing their impact on the ground because the raiders have continued killing people,” he said.
Jessica Nakongo, another resident said the incidents of road ambushes especially in Kotido were rising compared to cattle rustling.
“From last month to this month, four people have been killed in Kotido in broad daylight, we are honestly not safe,” he said.
Joseph Lomongin, the chief administrative officer Kotido, said most health workers deployed in various health centers have fled for their lives.
“Imagine these warriors go as far as ordering health workers to open their doors at night and sometimes they even go and clean their guns at the health facilities which is not acceptable, something must been done please, “he said.