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Thin Police Presence Worries Residents in Karamoja

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Edson Mugarurwa, a businessman in Moroto says there is a gap in transfers especially when officers are sent from Kampala and other stations outside Karamoja. He notes that while officers in Karamoja easily move to new stations, those meant for the region maneuver their way yo avoid Karamoja.
DPCs from Karamoja sub region in a meeting in Moroto.

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The thin police presence in Karamoja is raising concern among several residents in the region. Some of the police posts are manned by two officers while police stations are run by less than 10 officers. 

In Moroto district, Rupa Police Station, which commands the highest number of officers after Moroto Central Police Station has 10 officers. Nadunget has eight while Singila and Bus Park Police Stations are run with only seven officers each. 

The situation is worse in Tapac Police Station which is run by only four officers. Out posts have less than four police officers. In 2017, Moroto district was forced to close two police posts in Kodonyo and Musas due to inadequate manpower.

Mary Nakiru, [not real name], a resident of Labour Line in Moroto Municipality, says some officers have resorted to business due to frustration resulting from the heavy workload. Nakiru, one of the intelligence officers in Moroto revealed that some cases are not attended to due to thin police presence in the area.

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Edson Mugarurwa, a businessman in Moroto says there is a gap in transfers especially when officers are sent from Kampala and other stations outside Karamoja. He notes that while officers in Karamoja easily move to new stations, those meant for the region maneuver their way yo avoid Karamoja. 

Just last month, ASP Silver Mike Mugabe, a police officer in charge of Moroto CPS, worked his way out of the district after being deployed. No replacement has been received at the district, forcing the district police management to struggle filling the gap.

A well-placed police source that declined to be named since he isn't allowed to speak to the media, says another group of detectives sent to the region three months ago never showed up at their duty stations.

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Samuel Lokeris, the LC 1 Chairman of Nakapelimen village in Moroto Municipality, says the thin police presence has created a communication gap between police and local leaders. 

He explains that while LCs are supposed to refer criminal cases to police, a number of times, the affected parties reach a compromise when they don’t find officers at the duty station or take long to be attended to. 

He revealed that some residents are forced to walk long distances to the central police station to report their cases since out posts lack personnel.

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Mark Abuku, the Kaabong District LC V Chairperson, who doubles as president Uganda Local Government Association in Karamoja, says the thin police presence and deployment in the region is worrying especially as the general elections draw near.  

He observes that the situation sometimes forces army to assume roles of the police. 

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Thomas Opiga, the regional legal officer for Mt. Moroto acknowledges the challenge with police manpower in the region. 

He also confirmed that Kodonyo and Musas police posts were closed due to inadequate manpower in Moroto. 

Uganda Police Force embarked on police recruitment recently after nearly four years when they last recruited police constables and cadet officers.