Uganda People’s Defense Forces-UPDF has recovered 135 guns, 4 grenades and 1954 bullets from Karimojong rustlers.
The firearms were recovered from rustlers in the nine districts of Karamoja Sub-region including Kaabong, Abim, Kotido, Moroto, Amudat, Napak, Nakapiripirit, Nabilatuk and Karenga during the disarmament exercise spanning from January to December 2020.
Major Peter Mugisa, the UPDF 3rd Division spokesperson told URN on Sunday the weapons were recovered in cordon and search operations and sometimes through direct gunfire exchange between the rustlers and UPDF soldiers. He said the recovery of the guns in Karamoja is evidence that many firearms are still in the hands of Karimojongs for cattle rustling.
Major Musgisa noted that 562 cattle rustlers have so far been arrested, charged and tried in the UPDF 3rd division Court Martial.
“There’s a total reduction in animal raids by use of guns, what is happening now is that these warriors use bows and arrows but still we are handling them,” he said.
Major Mugisa also said the army has secured, which has eliminated ambushes by warriors like the case was before.
Violence and lawlessness had for many years reigned in Karamoja Sub-region due to illegal possession of firearms by Karimojong warriors, who used them rustle cattle in and outside the sub-region.
In 2001, the government launched a forceful but peaceful disarmament exercise. Statistics show that by September 2013, the army had recovered 31,892 guns and more than 20,000 bullets.
During 2011 election campaigns in Karamoja, President, Yoweri Museveni ordered for the recruitment of the disarmed rustlers into the Local Defense Unit (LDU) to help the army to trace the remaining warriors who had refused to hand over their guns.