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Reformed rustlers flee for their lives after handing guns to army

Guns picked up recently in the disarmament effort

Moroto, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Karimojong ex-rustlers who voluntarily handed over their guns to the army and received certificates from the forces have abandoned their homes for fear of being attacked by armed rustlers who are accusing them of surrendering.

Peter Apuun, one of those who handed over his gun to army last month, has fleed his home after receiving intelligence reports of plans to attack him by his former colleagues who are still armed. They accuse him of handing over his gun to the army.

Apuun who’s now staying with friends in Moroto town after abandoning his home in Rengen sub county in Kotido told URN that they had thought handing over their guns as requested by government would guarantee their security but its opposite.

“Our lives are at risk, all those who handed over guns voluntarily to the army and police are not safe because our colleagues think we have betrayed them and that it is us revealing intelligence about them to the army,” he said.

Mathew Lokol another reformed warrior and a resident of Kidepo in Rupa sub county said he has so far survived being killed by armed rustlers four times at his home.

“Last week I went to Moroto town so as I was on my way back home, around our trading center kidepo I met one of those still hiding guns who came and told me how they had laid a plan to kill me and he advised me not to be at home by 10 pm,” he said.  “They went at my home and they got no body as my wife also slept at the neighbor’s home but they were able to see all of them, armed, standing at my home. We are not safe.”

Joseph Kolibi another reformed warriors regretted why they handed over their guns and now have to keep running away from their families yet the intended purpose of handing over the guns was to get peace with their families.

“If I had known that handing over the gun to the army would mean not to stay with my family, I would have kept my gun without using it because I have regretted a lot all the time I sneak to my home as if am a rebel,” he said.

However, Michael Longole, the Karamoja regional police spokesperson said the time for the rustlers to continue hiding guns is running out.

“By the 17th of October this year, we will have gone on forceful disarmament exercise where those who are hiding guns and intimidating others who have handed over their guns will regret,” he said.

According to Longole , the joint force of police and army carrying out the second phase of disarmament in Karamoja had given the Karimojong rustlers a three-month period to hand over guns and the three-month period will end on 17th of this month, when the forces will move to effect forceful disarmament.



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