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Napak residents protest UPDF silence as armed warriors continue killing people

Residents of Napak protest continued attacks from armed warriors. URN photo

Napak, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Business grounded to a halt in Lotome sub county in Napak district on Saturday following a peaceful protest by residents accusing the army of alleged involvement in cattle rustling.

The protesters who included children, women and men matched through Lotome trading center with placards accusing the top army commanders of pocketing bribes from rustlers while others tasked the army to explain their continued loss of livestock to rustlers while they are looking on.

Betty Lokut, one of the protesters said armed warriors gunned her two children and made away with her eight cattle but the army has failed to recover them or arrest the rustlers. “Every day armed warriors raid us and all these raiders wear army uniform. The army looks less concerned about the situation, “she said.

Denis Apuun who claims to be a member of the Revolutionary guard, said that the rustlers have raided more than 4,000 animals from Lotome since January and they have never recovered them. “I am the NRM mobiliser but what’s happening right now I don’t support it, “he said.

Peter Loguru, the LC 1 chairperson of Lotome said the army leadership should think of ways of transferring all the old commanders from Karamoja claiming that they are eating with cattle rustlers. “Am sure that the army and cattle rustlers are benefiting from our raided animals, “he said.

According to Loguru, he has lost eight people in his village in the period of two weeks and none of the culprits has been arrested. John Lokol, another resident said that they have lost trust in the current army leadership which he described as biased.

“The commanders on the ground are biased, we are calling upon the president to transfer all of them and bring new people, “he said. The army leadership has not responded to the accusations levelled against them by the protesters.

The UPDF 3rd Division Army Commander Brig Joseph Balikudembe could neither pick nor return repeated calls from our reporter.  The Napak protest comes amidst the ongoing second phase of the disarmament exercise aimed at recovering illicit firearms from the region, which have led to unrest.



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