Paul Logiel, a priest at Nadunget catholic church in the Moroto district told URN they have always tried their best to spread the message of peace to the community but unfortunately, it doesn’t reach the warriors who are still in the jungle.
Clerics in Moroto district are struggling to reach evangelism to Karamojong male warriors who are in the jungles terrorizing communities in the region. Paul Logiel, a priest at Nadunget catholic church in the Moroto district told URN they have always tried their best to spread the message of peace to the community but unfortunately, it doesn’t reach the warriors who are still in the jungle.
According to Logiel, although it would be easy to use the church to convince the warriors to accept peace, they don’t turn up for prayers. Logiel says that they resorted to using women to convince their husbands to abandon cattle rustling, but they have failed because they are the beneficiaries. ‘’These women fear to talk to their husbands because they know when the man goes to raid, they come back with meat and a lot of animals and that’s their pride’’ he said.
Logiel blamed women for motivating their men to raid, something he says has left very many widows. Anna Lokwii, a 25-year-old mother of three children and resident of Nadunget town council, says that she lost her two husbands in cattle raids between 2019 and 2021. Lokwii says her first husband was killed in September 2019 in Amudat district where he had gone to raid.
She decided to remarry and landed on another raider who was also gunned down in January this year by UPDF soldiers in Kotido district during a cattle raiding mission. She revealed that their men do not take advice from women seriously because they claim to be the head of the family and that gives them powers to do everything.
Lokwii recalls that before her second husband was killed, she had already begged him never to return to the bush after he narrated a story of how he survived an ambush by the security forces.
‘’I talked to my husband repeatedly that please don’t go back to raid but he just kept quiet. In the evening he disappeared and shockingly in the morning, I heard that he was among the five people who were shot dead by the army in an ambush’’ she said.
Lokwii says as women there’s nothing much they can do for their husbands because they don’t listen to them anymore. Mary Nachap, the deputy Mayor of Moroto municipality noted that women embrace faith but warriors have a negative attitude towards praying in church.
Nachap says warriors are in the bush raiding animals, which will be used for marrying, adding that for a woman to command the husband on what to do she risks losing a chance of getting animals for her parents.
Rev Fr. Paul Ngole, the parish priest of St. Kizito catholic church Naoi in Moroto municipality, says that women are responding to the gospel but the challenge is transferring it to the men who do not want to listen to them.
Ngole says that the daily work of Karamojong male youth is to be out looking for survival and containing them in one place becomes a stress factor. He observes that even the few who come for prayers are not comfortable staying inside the church but instead prefer sitting outside where they can feel free.
Ngole admits that passing a message of peace to the warriors may be difficult but they are trying as a church to use close associates to convince them to come to church. He also notes that once the raiders accept to come into the church it’s easy for them to penetrate their hearts with the prayers and peace messages so they can embrace
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Samuel Lokong, the community development officer of the Rupa sub-county, says that the men have always been busy looking after their animals and they would never bother to waste any single minute with something they can't gain from.
He also noted that in the traditional setting of Karamoja, the locals always believe that God has given all cattle to them and there’s nothing else they want from God.
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