By Olandason Wanyama
SUSPECTED Tepeth warriors shot at a group of Karimojong women, killing four of them, including two who were pregnant.
Three others were injured.
The incident took place on Sunday morning in Alikalet parish, Rupa sub-county in Moroto district along the road to Nakiloro on the Uganda-Kenya border.
The dead were identified as Natalina Apeya, Loroto Napul Arichu Lolimoro and another not readily identified by press time.
Apeya and Napul were in advanced stages of pregnancy.
Those rushed to Moroto Hospital were Cecilia Lopuwa, Natalina Nate and Nakutu Lomere.
The Moroto district Police commander, Thomas Obong, attributed the attack on idleness of the warriors.
Lomere, 13, in whose stomach a bullet lodged, said they had gone to collect firewood for sale on the slopes of Mt. Moroto early in the morning.
â€œAfter about an hourâ€™s trek, we realised we were in the middle of an ambush and about 10 armed warriors had blocked the path,â€ Lomere said.
Speaking from her hospital bed, she added: â€œA warrior shouted at us in Ngâ€™akarimojong that he had the chance of killing pregnant women who were simply producing to fill up Karamoja.â€ The Rupa parish chief, Lowurien Kabila, said such lawlessness should be fought before it escalates in the region.
â€œThe poor women do not have milk to sell, which is why they had resorted to selling firewood to earn a living.â€
â€œWith such incidents in the bush, many families are going to starve due to poverty, poor crop harvest and reduced herds,â€ he said.
The Tepeth are an ethnic group from Kaabong district.
Security sources believe that the attackers were part of the group repulsed by the army on January 26.
The fierce clash was the first between the UPDF and the warriors since the year began.
Reports from the Uganda-Kenya border indicate that gunfire rocked Nawutu village as the Turkana and Tepeth clashed, resulting into the death of 20 warriors and two soldiers.
The 12-hour battle in the lower Rift Valley spread to Upper Valley until late when the defeated warriors fled.
Maj. Geoffrey Lutalo, the UPDF 25th battalion commander, said: â€œWe battled about 200 Turkana warriors from morning up to 6:00pm.â€
Currently, the Tepeth and Turkana are on good terms and together graze their animals in the Rift Valley.