Kotido, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Aped Longole, the former Napumpum sub-county LCIII vice chairperson in Kotido district who was gunned down by joint security forces on Thursday night was a notorious rustler before he joined politics, URN has learnt.
Longole was killed while driving rustled animals from Apeitolim in Napak to Kotido district. Now, the LCIII chairperson, Paul Lowok says that the deceased was a notorious cattle rustler who was actively involved in raiding animals.
According to Lowok, he interested the deceased in the position of sub-county vice-chairperson to keep him busy after realizing that he was not willing to stop raiding.
He explains that the deceased had an illegal firearm before he appointed him vice-chairperson and handed it over to security. Lowok however says that Longole was killed in possession of another firearm. Longole is one of the local leaders who has been condemning UPDF for not doing enough to stop cattle rustling in Karamoja.
Peter Abram Lokii, the Jie County MP noted that the deceased lost his cows to suspected cattle raiders from Moroto last year. He explained that none of the cows was recovered prompting him to resort to raiding to recover his animals.
Lokii noted that he is not surprised to hear about Longole’s death because several leaders across Karamoja have died in a similar manner. He asked the government to commit itself to addressing the problem of poverty and empowering reformed warriors as opposed to just disarming them.
At the start of the second phase of the disarmament exercise in Karamoja in July 2021, the State Minister for Karamoja Affairs Agnes Nandutu revealed that warriors who voluntarily hand over their guns will receive two bags of maize.
However, Lokii says the minister’s pledge was out of excitement because the strategy cannot work to transform a reformed warrior.
Peter Lodio, a resident of Napumpum sub-county says that the government had promised to reward whoever surrenders a firearm but nothing has been done. Lodio says the warriors have been relying on guns for survival, arguing that disarming them without any alternative leaves them vulnerable because they can’t support their families.
URN has also noted that several LC I, LC 2 chairpersons and councillors are in police custody for conniving with rustlers or actively getting involved in cattle theft. In 2019, the LC 3 chairperson of Dan Apolo loyolo was shot dead by an LDU following a disagreement over impounded animals.