Karamoja, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The general public in Karamoja sub region in the north eastern Uganda is welcoming a ban on LDUs in the sub-region by UPDF command describing it as “great news”.
On Wednesday Lt. Gen. Peter Elwelu, the commander of land forces announced that army has decided to stop all the services rendered by the local defence units in Karamoja.
Gen. Elwelu, told journalists at the UPDF 3rd Division headquarters in Moroto that the decision to ban the LDUs in Karamoja follows criminal incidents where the LDUs are part of the criminals.
According to Gen. Elwelu, the army will only pick the few LDUs with a good record to integrate with the UPDF while the rest will be retired. They will return uniforms and guns back to the army.
“We have decided to ban the local defence units (LDUs) in Karamoja after noticing that the LDUs had become part of the problem in Karamoja,” he said.
In 2010, Karimojong former cattle rustlers were recruited under the orders of president Museveni to help consolidate the achieved peace in Karamoja. Each LDU personnel have been earning a monthly salary of shs 230,000. There are apparently some 15,000 LDUs in the region.
Speaking to URN John Lemukol one of the elders and a resident of Kambizi in Moroto Municipality hailed the decision saying the LDUs had become perpetrators of cattle rustling.
He said other people had been using the LDUs to commit crimes adding that most of the killings and raids that the region had been experiencing were caused by LDUs.
“What the army has done is great because the LDUs had become part of raiders who could hire out their guns and bullets to their relatives to execute the raids,” he said.
Mark Lote from Panyangara in Kotido Municipality said the army’s decision to remove all LDUs was well thought out, saying Karamoja will go back to enjoying the previous peace that it had ten years back after government successfully disarmed the Karimojong.
“I have been telling people that with the LDUs having guns, Karamoja will never be peaceful because these LDUs give their guns to the relatives to go and carry out raids in the neighboring districts, which wrong,” he said.
Betty Angolere, a mother and a resident of Loputuk village in Nadunget Sub County in Moroto district says the army should make each LDU to account for all their bullets adding that some might begin hiding bullets so that they can sell to other armed warriors who are still hiding guns.
“Every LDU personnel should have a list of bullets that she or he has used so that it is possible to know whether they have been selling bullets or they have been hiding them for their own use,” She said.