THE Uganda Peopleâ€™s Defence Forces have unearthed more arms in the ongoing operation to disarm former combatants in West Nile region. The operation, which focuses on the districts of Yumbe and Koboko, has yielded big quantities of weapons which the army said are stocks from old conflicts.
The operation, which focuses on the districts of Yumbe and Koboko, has yielded big quantities of weapons which the army said are stocks from old conflicts.
The latest recovery last Thursday, included five submachine guns with 149 bullets, one Uzi gun with 177 bullets, two grenades and 11 empty magazines.
Army spokesman in the region Capt. Robert Kamara said the items were recovered from the home of a former rebel of the West Nile Bank Front in Ajugyinya village in Drajini sub-county, Yumbe district.
The find comes barely a week after the same team uncovered arms wrapped in polythene bags and buried in grass-thatched houses in Acholi, Kisumu and Alelinija villages in Kuru and Apo sub-counties, also in Yumbe. Since July last year, over 30 illicit firearms, 122 explosive devices, including anti-tank and anti-personnel mines, and 6,000 bullets have been seized.
According to Kamara, the operation is being conducted by agents from the security organisations ESO, ISO, CMI and the Police in close collaboration with local council leaders, elders and the population.
â€œThere is a mutual understanding and support between the local leaders, members of the public and the recovery team, which explains the absence of any arrests, despite the size of arms we are getting,â€ Kamara said.
He added that they agreed with the public to protect the whistle-blowers as well as people who volunteered information about weapons in their possession.
â€œHistorically, this region was a home to various rebel groups that fortunately signed peace agreements with the Government and accordingly declared their arms,â€ he explained.
â€œSome fighters did not surrender their arms. These are the arms we are trying to recover.â€
Over three rebel groups operated in the West-Nile region since 1986, all of which abandoned rebellion after signing peace agreements with the Government. Kamara also blamed the influx of weapons on the conflicts in Congo and South Sudan.
UPDF seizes more arms in West Nile