While convicting the convicts, Col Francis Kateraho noted that the government gave the suspects ample time to voluntarily surrender illegal firearms in their possession but they chose to pay a deaf ear, which prompted the joint security forces to apply force leading to their arrest.
The Uganda People’s Defense
Forces-UPDF 3rd Division court martial sitting in Moroto district
has convicted 27 Karamojong cattle rustlers including three siblings. The
convicts appeared before the court-martial chaired by Col. Francis Kateraho for
illegal possession of firearms.
Maj Isaac Oware, the UPDF 3rd Division
spokesperson, says that the convicts are part of 1933 cattle rustlers arrested by
the joint security forces in their operations dubbed ‘’Usalama Kwa Wote’’,
which aims at recovering illegal firearms from the civilian population.
According to Oware, the convicts included three
brothers namely Apaiteng Lomangat, Lokoya Lotyang and Nakorkomol Koryang who
were picked up during an intelligence-led cordon and search operations in
Kalobur village in Kotido district.
The trio was found in possession of one SMG
rifle. He explains that the siblings were using the gun to terrorize
communities in Abim and Apeitolim in Napak district. He explains that the court
also established that the convict’s cousin who is still at large is in possession
of another illegal firearm.
While convicting the convicts, Col Francis
Kateraho noted that the government gave the suspects ample time to voluntarily
surrender illegal firearms in their possession but they chose to pay a deaf
ear, which prompted the joint security forces to apply force leading to their arrest.
He noted with concern the increase in unrest in Abim and Teso caused by the attacks by the rustlers. ‘’This
honourable court is mandated to protect people and their properties by punishing
those armed criminals who have turned guns as their business,’’ he said during
the court session on Thursday.
He found the
accused guilty of illegal possession of firearms and sentenced them to ten
years in jail.
//Cue in: “You were charged……
Cue out:…. fourteen days from now,’’//
The same court convicted Ayen Lokwateba for illegal
possession of a firearm and handed him nine years because of his physical
impairment. It came after Ayen informed the court that he is physically
impaired because he was shot in the leg while trying to sneak to Turkana to
The convicts blamed their involvement in rustling on
hunger and pleaded with the government to forgive them. This brings to 27, the
number of 387 cattle rustlers convicted by the court-martial since Usalama Kwa Wote operations commenced in July 2021.