By Vision Reporter
President Yoweri Museveni has directed border security along Kidepo National Park in north eastern Uganda to shoot armed poachers.
“Those with guns who cross to disturb, you should shoot them. You are accusing the army of not doing their work,” he said.
The President pointed out that one of the reasons the disarmament exercise was successful was because the Government pledged to the Karimojong that if they handed over their guns to the army, it would protect them.
“Some people said ‘if you disarm the Karimojong only, the Turkana will disturb them’. There are guns in the Democratic Republic of Congo, but they do not cross to Kasese; if they do, we shoot those who carry them.
“There are guns in South Sudan now, but have you heard that they have crossed to Koboko? This is our house. My responsibility is to protect Ugandans,” he said.
The President was responding to reports that pockets of armed poachers – the Tipeth from South Sudan and Turkana from Kenya – keep crossing into the parks to kill animals, destroy crops and, sometimes, kill people.
Museveni was speaking during celebrations to mark 50 years of Kidepo Valley National Park at Napore Open Grounds, Apoka Village in Dodoth West Constituency, Kaabong District.
The President unveiled the tagline for Kidepo — “A true African wilderness.”
He cautioned against using park land for cultivation, saying tourism earns the country more income than agriculture.
Museveni said while coffee earns the country about sh400m annually, tourism fetches sh1.3b and over 1.4 million tourists arrive in the country annually compared to 200,000 in 1986.
The President said he was happy that the NRM Government and the UPDF stopped poaching in the national parks, leading to their rejuvenation.
He urged the communities to use the revenues they get from the parks to invest in decent accommodation for the tourists, grow crops in the communities to feed themselves and engage in artisanship to promote crafts as souvenirs.