Kotido District council has restructured all peace committees following their alleged involvement in crime. Some of the peace committees were accused of aiding or conniving with criminals especially cattle thieves in their villages.
The Peace Committees were established in Karamoja in 2001 to curb cattle raids, a common practice among pastoral communities then. They were also meant to help security agencies to gather intelligence and track stolen animals after disarmament in Karamoja.
However, some of the members of peace committees especially in Kotido have been under the spotlight for aiding the renewed cattle thefts in the region. Around February this year, Lokol Teba, the Chairperson of Patangor Parish Peace committee in Napelimoru Sub County in Kotido district, was arrested with an illegal gun he used for stealing cattle.
Teba, who recovered a gun from Bosco Topes, is alleged to have turned it to terrorize residents and the neighboring community. Now, Kotido District Chairperson, Ambrose Lotuke, says they had to reorganize the peace committees to get rid of the wrong elements.
He acknowledges that most of the peace committees had been compromised by thieves and were being used as alliances in crime.
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Kotido alone has 120 peace committee members; 20 in each sub county. Lotuke says the restructuring took care of gender, elders' counsel, conduct and recommendation from local leaders in the respective sub counties.
Capt. Isaac Oware, the UPDF 3rd Division spokesman commends the effort of Kotido District Council to streamline peace committees. He notes that much as some individuals have tainted the image of the peace Committees and LDUs, they are still very relevant in Karamoja especially in tracking cattle thieves.
Kaabong Resident District Commissioner, Peter Logilo told URN that his district is also conducting a similar exercise of restructuring peace committee members.