Pastoralists have over the years been asked to leave their guns behind or risk prosecution, but the pleas fell on deaf ears.
Armed Turkana pastoralists at the Uganda- Kenya border (Picture by Olandason Wanyama)
Uganda - Water shortage and severe drought in some parts of North Western Kenya have seen Turkana pastoralists cross to Uganda in search of water and pasture for their herd.
This has resulted into an intensified operation along the Uganda-Kenya border by the Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF), where 12 guns have been recovered from the pastoralists.
The UPDF third Division Spokesperson, Captain Isaac Oware, confirmed recovery of the guns saying the army has intensified the operation towards eradication of illegal guns.
“We have the rifles and unspecified number of ammunitions,” he said.
Oware also noted that the pastoralists have over the years been asked to leave their guns behind or risk prosecution, but the pleas fell on deaf ears.
He further said that the UPDF will not allow smuggling of guns into Karamoja saying the sub region was disarmed of illicit weapons.
Much as UPDF could not divulge details as it would jeopardise investigations, several suspects have been arrested as investigations are carried out.
Oware noted that the government of Uganda has deployed a chopper to conduct an aerial surveillance as a deterrent measure against arms proliferation into the country.
He commended the Uganda border area peace committees for a job well done in offering tips towards the recovery of unlawful ammunition.
Local leaders have been admonished to report any suspects who may wish to destabilize the prevailing peace in Karamoja.
The Resident District Commissioner (RDC) Kotido, Peter Logiro, congratulated the UPDF upon the swift action in the recovery of two guns from Napumpum and Losilang parishes.
He said one of the guns was used in the killing of a peace committee member from Rikitae village, a one Lomuto, who was gunned down on 8 January.
“Despite the suspected killer being on the run, we have managed to recover the gun,” Logiro said.
He however asked Kotido and Abim district leaders to prevail in the ongoing theft of animals, saying that animals stolen from Abiim district are being sold into Kotido, adding that communities should always work with security agencies to ensure that the hard-earned peace is sustained in Karamoja.