- Updated by Faith Barbara Namagembe at 0741 EAT on Monday 11 April 2022.
At least 11 suspected Karimojong cattle rustlers were last week shot dead by the joint security force of the army and police during disarmament operations in Karamoja sub-region according to Micheal Longole, the Karamoja regional police spokesperson. Longole noted that security also recovered 9 guns and 113 rounds of ammunition while the rustlers killed five civilians and injured three Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) soldiers.
He further explained that security recovered 714 cattle and 267 goats from the rustlers, while 45 rustlers were arrested and will appear before courts to answer charges of illegal possession of firearms.
Longole said this brings the total number of guns and ammunition recovered to 201 and 2,476 ammunition since July 17, 2021, when the current ongoing disarmament operation was launched.
“We are now taking vigorous means of dealing with the insecurity in Karamoja and these rustlers seem to have noticed because we are tired of begging them,” he said.
Joel Akorio, one of the former cattle rustlers and a resident of Acholin village in Moroto Municipality said the current high cost of living is the root cause of cattle raiding.
“The problem government is not honest, because they pick guns from people and they don’t even offer any project to support those who hand over the guns,” said Akorio.
Marry Nakiru, another resident said ending insecurity in Karamoja is very simple if government works together with stakeholders.”This insecurity in Karamoja is benefiting many people and it explains why the situation is not ending,” added Nakiru.The army has intensified operations in Karamoja to counter the resurgence of cattle rustlers who are now said to be on a rampage – stealing animals and killing people in their wake. In a press statement recently, UPDF said it has so far killed more than 300 Karamojong warriors, captured many others and also recovered more than 100 guns. President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has weighed in and vowed to again defeat the resurgence of insecurity in Karamoja. Speaking at the pass out of the 4th intake of 6,237 Local Defence Personnel (LDU) who underwent a six months basic military training at Oliver Tambo Military Training School in Kaweweta, Nakaseke district, Museveni said Ugandans shouldn’t worry because these are isolated incidents.
“The security situation in the country is good. There are a few little things which are easy to deal with, like the cattle rustling in Karamoja, that will be dealt with. Then for the ADF in Congo, your colleagues are dealing with that,” said Museveni on Friday
Museveni congratulated the new soldiers for persevering through the six-month training to finish the course, and noted that these will serve as LDU for a short time and later be integrated into the army because many are educated and have acquired knowledge on how to use modern weapons very quickly.
The group comprises 168-degree holders, 318 diploma holders and 1,277 with certificates in various disciplines. The rest have Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education (UACE) and below. The president encouraged the new recruits to maintain discipline and ensure good health at all times.
“You should, therefore, not endanger your health with risky behaviour like alcohol. Once you keep your health and follow the regulations of the army and you train, the future is very bright for you,” Museveni noted.
Earlier, he commissioned waterworks to serve Kaweweta Recruits Training School, Fort Samora Machel Special Forces School and Oliver Reginald Tambo School of Leadership and Pan-African Center of Excellence all in the same vicinity. He also commissioned the new road network connecting all the institutions at Kaweweta. A total of 10 out of the 17 kms have already been tarmacked.
Museveni also sounded a stern warning to all those encroaching on the army land to vacate immediately after reports emerged that officials at the training institute are finding challenges in widening the training ground due to encroachment. “They should get out. Because I’m the one who told the army to come here because I was here fighting. I know the land myself,” said Museveni.
According to the Chief of Defense Forces (CDF), Gen Wilson Mbasu Mbadi, the recruits should brace themselves for more training in the specialized units where they will be deployed for better results. “To the formations and the units that are taking these brand-new soldiers, make sure you continue to skill them and mission train them to enable them to become more proficient,” Mbadi said, adding that in all specialized formations, they have revamped the training schools.
The camp commandant, Brig Gen John Bosco Ruhesi, said the objective of the course was to train selected patriotic young Ugandan men and women and prepare them into combat worthy, disciplined and robust and progressive members of the defense forces and this has been well achieved. “The course covered both military and ideological subjects that were mentally and physically demanding,” said Ruhesi.
He noted that the recruits received packages on different topics that include; attitude change for socio-economic transformation, patriotism for socio-economic transformation, retirement sensitisation, gender equity in the UPDF, the importance of ideological training and the role of UPDF in the security of Uganda.