Kotido Elders Create Battalion of Youth to Hunt for Armed Warriors in the Jungle

The Elders' council resolved to pick fifty youth from each of the 14 clans in Kotido district, to constitute the special battalion whose mission is to go and capture the warriors hiding in the jungle, for handing over to the government for legal action.
Karamoja Elders during peace security meeting

Audio 2

Elders in Kotido district are putting together some 700 youth to deploy in the bush with the sole mission of hunting down armed warriors who are still terrorizing the region.

The Elders' council resolved to pick fifty youth from each of the 14 clans in Kotido district, to constitute the special battalion whose mission to go and capture the armed warriors who are hiding in the jungle, and hand them over to the government for legal action.

John Bosco Akore, the secretary Kotido Elders Council told URN that the warriors are their own sons who have deliberately refused to listen to them and they know where they are hiding, the only problem being that they are armed and cannot be captured by an individual.

Akore said they only need about 700 youth to move with elders into the bush to capture the armed warriors whom he says are now small in number.

He said they have taken the decision after realizing that the government is taking a long time to contain the situation and people are still losing lives and property.

According to him, they tend to start the operations in early October because that is the time warriors start their attacks against people who are harvesting crops in the gardens.

‘’These warriors always like attacking people during harvest season, so our plan is to waylay them before they launch their attacks,’’ Akore said.

He also appealed to the government to provide them with any necessary support to enable them achieve their target.

Akore said they will also need a few UPDF soldiers to help them in case warriors resist arrest but should be strictly Karamojong or Iteso soldiers because they understand the language.

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Joseph Lomongin, a youth in Panyangara sub county says they are ready to go for a hunt because the warriors have finished all the cows that they were relying on for their future.

Lomongin said the warriors sometimes come home and no one can talk about their actions because they are rude.

‘’We even meet them but of course as an individual you can’t say anything for they will kill you, so if we go for them as a group I am confident that they cannot kill all of us,’’ he said.

Lomongin also noted that it was not a good idea to inform the warriors about the intended deal to capture them since they might change their directions or flee from the region.

He fears that with the porous border between Uganda and Kenya, the warriors can easily cross to Turkana to hide until the operations end then they return.

Ambrose Onoria, the Resident District Commissioner for Kotido District welcomed the initiative saying they have for long been waiting for possible solutions to end insecurity in the region.

Onoria says they are willing to support the Elders throughout the activities so long as they are sure that their initiative works to bring sanity back to Karamoja.

He said the warriors terrorizing people are no longer connected to the family members but the parents know well that they are in the bush.

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The development comes after several peace security meetings have been held to draw possible solutions to end insecurity but all in vain. The security forces early this month pronounced that they had met a target of collecting over 500 illegal guns which were projected to be in the hands of cattle raiders but since then there are still isolated cases of cattle theft and road ambushes reported in the region.