By Daniel Edyegu
Over 200 Karimojong warriors (Matheniko) of Nadunget sub-county in Moroto district stormed the district headquarters last week, protesting the seizure of their animals by the UPDF.
The majority of them were children, women and the elderly. They complained that Nadunget army detachment had kept their animals in a protected kraal, denying them access to milk and grazing the animals.
The warriors, who claimed to have not eaten for three days, vowed not to leave the district headquarters unless they get an explanation from the army.
The 403th Brigade commander, Lt. Col. Joseph Balikudembe, told the warriors that their cattle was impounded after the Jie warriors from Kotido district complained that the Matheniko had raided their animals.
â€œThe Jie told us that 200 animals were raided from them and brought to the protected kraals. But our findings indicate that only 20 animals were actually stolen. So we impounded 500 animals in Nadunget for identification.â€
He added that two warriors, suspected to have been involved in the raid, were arrested.
The 3rd Division spokesman, Capt. Henry Obbo, stressed that the UPDF was not interested in the cattle but the illegal guns in the hands of the warriors.
He said the warriorsâ€™ protest was aimed at drawing sympathy from the area politicians against the army.
â€œDespite the fact that these people fabricate lies to tarnish the image and operations of the army in Karamoja, we shall not be diverted. Every person is now painting a cruel picture of our work, which is totally wrong,â€ he said.
Obbo added that impounding animals was a routine process in the recovery of raided cattle in Karamoja sub-region.