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Police Deploy Two Helicopters As Disarmament Exercise Intensifies in Karamoja

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Michael Longole, the Karamoja Region Police Spokesperson, says the deployment of more troops and choppers in Karamoja is an indication that government doesn’t treat the insecurity in the region lightly.
06 Oct 2021 08:41
One of the police Helicopters deployed in Moroto
Police have deployed two choppers to boost surveillance of cattle rustlers in the ongoing disarmament exercise in Karamoja region.  

The two choppers landed at Moroto army barracks on Tuesday evening. The deployment of the two choppers brings to four, the number of choppers deployed in the region to boost the disarmament exercise. The other two choppers belong to the Uganda People’s Defense Forces-UPDF.

Michael Longole, the Karamoja Region Police Spokesperson, says the deployment of more troops and choppers in Karamoja is an indication that government doesn’t treat the insecurity in the region lightly. He says that the two choppers will aid quick response when rustlers raid animals from any district in the region.

He says that although the choppers will station in Moroto, they will operate in the entire region. "It's high time for the rustlers to surrender guns to government and stop raiding animals, failure to do will have consequences, “he said.

The second phase of the Disarmament exercise is jointly being implemented by the police and army since it was launched on July 17 2021. So far 87 guns and 860 rounds of ammunition have been recovered from rustlers.

The deployment of choppers and more troops in Karamoja follows a recent meeting between President, Yoweri Museveni and Karamoja leaders over the rising insecurity in the region. Karamoja region had enjoyed peace for 14 years after the successful disarmament carried out between 2003 to 2008.

However, in 2019, the region was dragged back to the previous years of insecurity when rustlers resumed raids and ambushes. Gorret Nangiro, one of the residents of Ngoleriet sub-county in Napak district hailed the deployment of more troops in the region.    

"We have seen the deployment of troops and helicopters in the region but my question is how sustainable will it be because tomorrow you will find the forces removing the soldiers and police leaving room for the rustlers to execute their mission,” she said.

Moses Lomongin, another resident said the only solution to end violence in Karamoja is through psychological disarmament and compulsory education for children in the region.  

"Am telling you the government will continue spending a lot of resources pacifying Karamoja for a short period but stable peace will only return to Karamoja when Karimojong children are forcefully taken to School and government does psychological disarmament,” he said.

Titus Lokwang, a peace activist and resident of Lorengedwat sub-county in Nabilatuk district laughed off of the food approach proposed by the State Minister for Karamoja affairs Agnes Nadutu to lure the warriors to hand over guns.

Two weeks ago, Nadutu promised to give a bag of maize to whoever surrenders a firearm, which Lokwang describes as a waste of time and resources. "That would mean promoting criminality because everyone will run and acquire a gun cheaply. He comes and hands over twice you give him one bag of maize where is that money coming from?" he asked.

According to Lokwang, the government needs to be tough on Karimojong and treat them as other people found in possession of illegal arms. 

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