Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) and the Anti-Stock Theft Unit (ASTU) have revealed that over 243 guns have been recovered from cattle rustlers in Karamoja since the launch of forceful disarmament in July last year.
President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni ordered for forceful disarmament of Karimojong warriors in July last year after the area becoming a centre of insecurity where locals kraals were being raided day and night leaving others killed.
UPDF and ASTU increased their presence in the area including deployment of more lethal weapons backed up by helicopters. The operations are headed by Brig. Gen Joseph Balikuddembe, who is also the Third Division commander, while ASTU is commanded by Commissioner of Police Erias Kasilabo.
Brig. Felix Kulayigye, the UPDF Spokesperson says in the last one week, 37 guns were recovered during operations against warriors. Earlier on, ASTU and UPDF had recovered 206 guns thus bringing the total number to 243.
Nevertheless, Brig. Kulayigye has declined to divulge how many of the guns recovered from warriors belong to Ugandan forces. Barely a month ago, a rumour emerged that 88 guns recovered from warriors had markings of UPDF and police, whereas the bullets were being made from Nakasongola ammunitions factory.
Basing on the allegations of soldiers and police officers sharing or selling guns to warriors, leaders in Karamoja demanded for change of security personnel including commanders in the area. However, Brig. Kulayigye says security agencies have not in any way connived with warriors but instead the area local leaders have done so.
“Some of the local leaders are benefiting from the cattle thefts. Local leaders rubbished our reports. Recently LC3 chairman died in the operations against the warriors. These allegations of guns coming from Nakasongola are not true. They come from neighbouring countries South Sudan and Kenya,” said Brig. Kulayigye.
Fred Enanga, the Police spokesperson explained that bullets recovered from warriors are the ones they robbed from killed soldiers and police officers including raiding some police stations in the area.
At least 19,091 cows have been recovered according to UPDF and ASTU. President Museveni has also sent Brig. David Mugisha to back up Brig. Balikuddembe to fight cattle thieves in the Karamoja area.
Over 400 warriors have been killed but the number of soldiers and police officers killed in fire exchange has been kept a secret.