Moroto, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The State Minister for Defence and Veteran Affairs Col. Charles Engola has directed the Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces – UPDF to step up disarmament efforts in Karamoja.
Engola made the directive on Wednesday while meeting UPDF senior commanders at the 3rd Division headquarters in Moroto. He was concluding his two-day visit to the region following reports of increased cattle thefts and raids.
Col. Okello Engola who held meetings in Kotido, Kaabong and Moroto with the district leadership and senior security personnel in the region ordered the UPDF to use all possible available means to disarm the Karamojong warriors in a bid to attain sustainable peace in the region so that peace, investment and development can thrive in the region.
His call follows increased cattle raids leading to deteriorating security in the region. The armed warriors have targeted police and military installations with the latest attacks recorded in Kotido, Napak and Kaabongo districts.
Col Engola also asked the leaders to back the UPDF in the disarmament process.
The State Minister for Ethics, Simon Lokodo asked the UPDF to bring all those found in possession of illegal firearms to justice.
Moses Kizige, the State Minister for Karamoja Affairs advised people in possession of illegal firearms to hand over the guns to the UPDF or local authorities and benefit from the amnesty.
According to the UPDF 3rd Division Commander, Brig. Joseph Balikudembe, they have since January recovered 72 illegal guns. He also said that some suspected warriors have been killed during operations while others have been convicted in the military court-martial.
The visit by Engola comes just weeks after the Commander Land Forces. Lt Gen Peter Elwelu visited the region to discuss peace and security.