The Hon. Minister of State for Karamoja, Hon. Moses Kiige, the CDF Gen. David Muhoozi, the DIGP Major Gen. Sabiiti Muzeeyi, Honorable Members of Parliament from the Karamoja sub region, have held a consultative meeting with other key stakeholders from the police, UPDF and local politicians, following concerns by legislators under the Karamoja Parliamentary Association about growing insecurity and violence due to raids and counter raids in the Karamoja region.
The meeting which was held at the 3rd Divisional Headquarters in Moroto on the 1/02/2020, purposely discussed the security challenges in the Karamoja sub-region and also ways to devise measures on how to respond to them.
The major concerns raised included; fears of counter raids from across the borders between Uganda, Kenya and South Sudan due to the porous borders, inadequate police and military presence, gun trafficking and the re-emergence of guns, hostile alliances among ethnic groups to mention but a few.
According to the police spokesperson Fred Enanga, all stakeholders strongly condemned the acts of raids and counter raids and the violence committed by armed criminal groups, from the neighboring countries and also from within the local communities in Karamoja. Members emphasized the importance of a comprehensive approach to combating the threats posed by raids and counter raids including hostile alliances and the illegal re-arming of criminal elements in the community.
In response to the concerns, the joint CDF and DIGP expressed the determination of security agencies to counter all forms of raids and counter raids, and to bring perpetrators of such acts to justice.
The areas agreed on to enhance security included; the immediate reorganization and boosting up of ASTU manpower, use of aerial capabilities like aircraft and drones to counter raiders, regulation of entry and exit through the creation of border posts, faster recovery of raided animals through quicker response, troop mobility and continuous forceful disarmament in grazing areas, identification of violent warriors and perpetrators of raids for arrest and prosecution, training and retraining of personnel.
Other measures designed to maximize effect included the continuous sensitization and awareness programs across governments, diversifying means of survival through education and commercial farming, dialogue and peace committee meetings to reduce acts of violence, regulating Turkana movements in and out of the country, opening up security roads, effective use of Interpol and the EAPPCO mechanisms in the recovery of raided animals, creation of special courts with deterrent punishments for perpetrators and the possibility of legalizing the Nabilatuk resolution.
In furtherance of the Moroto meeting, the DIGP and his team embarked on a critical security assessment in the entire Karamoja sub region, where all detaches and deployments along the borderline and within our borders were thoroughly reviewed; areas for the construction of border posts to regulate entry and exit were identified, the repositioning of our forces through the creation of new detaches, additional logistical and manpower supplies to ensure better response to armed raids, better surveillance of intelligence led processes.
“The scale of the assessment is testament of our resolve to counter all forms of cattle raids in the region. We are meanwhile grateful to all stakeholders that are playing a pivotal role in pacifying the Karamoja sub-region, and in particular the Ministry of Karamoja affairs, the Parliamentary group, CSOs, local politicians and elders. Special thanks also go to our forces of ASTU and LDUs for their bravery while countering and pursuing armed criminal elements and for the recoveries made so far” Enanga says.
In the last two months of December and January, out of the 31 incidents reported to police, 287 stolen cows were recovered and efforts to recover 616 still in place.
He added that the public should know that the situation in Karamoja is manageable and under control. “We have no doubt that our renewed security efforts, will restore total peace and security in the Karamoja sub-region.”