“Government collects guns but at the same time the same people who give these guns get more guns how can this be managed by the forces?” he asked. Bishop Abura, who hails from Karamoja region, says that it is high time for the people of Karamoja to stop violent means of acquiring wealth and embark on peaceful means to acquire wealth.
The Rt. Rev. Joseph Abura Bishop Church of Uganda Karamoja Disoces.
No amount of police and military deployment in
Karamoja will end rustling until the natives stand up and say enough is enough,
the Church of Uganda Bishop for South Karamoja Diocese Rt. Rev Joseph Abura has
According to the Bishop, despite the disarmament
exercise by the government in Karamoja, the situation only calms down for ten
years only to return to chaos.
“Government collects guns but at the same time
the same people who give these guns get more guns how can this be managed by
the forces?” he asked.
Bishop Abura, who hails from Karamoja region, says that
it is high time for the people of Karamoja to stop violent means of acquiring
wealth and embark on peaceful means to acquire wealth. In 2002,
the government conducted a disarmament exercise and recovered 50,000 firearms
from the hands of Karimojongs.
This restored relative calm to the region, which
lasted until 2019. Serious rustling resume in 2019 with rustlers staging
cattle raids and ambushes. Major Peter Mugisa, the UPDF 3rd Division
spokesperson told URN that the army was mobilizing to start another phase of the
disarmament in Karamoja.
However, Bishop Abura says no matter how many
times the government does disarmament nothing will change as long as the
Karimojong do not desist from owning guns. “The
people of Teso had guns but it reached a time when the Iteso said enough is
enough and handed over their guns to the government. Now, look at how peaceful
Teso is,” he said.
The Bishop challenged the leaders in Karamoja to stand
up with one voice and stop cattle raids.
“These children who are raiding are our
children, relatives and voters, we must make sure that we stop them from these
activities,” he said.
Joseph Lote, another elder said no outsider can
create development in Karamoja, if the Karimojong themselves do not come together
and work for peace and development. “Every day our young children are being killed
during clashes with the UPDF and the number of Karimojongs is reducing every
day. We must stop this,” he said.
Magdalen Lomilo, another elderly woman
in Nadunget Sub County, said complaints from the Karimojong alleging that the
army is stealing their animals is because the Karimojong have refused to stop
raiding. “If we were peaceful, which soldier would come
and interfere with our animals?” she asked.
She defended the army saying the
UPDF should not be blamed for the current wave of insecurity in Karamoja but
the blame should go to the Karimojong themselves. "What annoys me is that people from other
regions ask the government for development aid such as hand hoes, bulls and
machines while for us in Karamoja we are busy asking the government for more
deployment of soldiers and military choppers, which we don’t eat,” she said.