At least 125 people have lost their lives to armed Karimojong cattle rustlers between November 2020 to October 2021.
The Karamoja region police spokesperson Michael Longole confirmed the statistics in interview Friday, indicating that 15 out of the 125 people killed were minors aged between seven and 16 years.
According to Longole, some of the victims were killed in ambushes staged by the warriors while others were killed during raids by rustlers on their Kraals.
Longole also noted that in the same period, the rustlers raided 5,012 head of cattle, 4,096 of which, have since been so far been recovered. He says that the remaining cows are suspected to have crossed to neighbouring countries such as South Sudan and Kenya.
He said the Ugandan security officials are still in touch with their counterparts in the neighbouring countries to trace the animals. Karamoja region had enjoyed 14 years of peace after the successful disarmament exercise from 2003 to 2008.
However, the region has been dragged back to the previous insecurity situation because of resumed cattle raids. The many cattle raids that the region has registered from September 19th, 2021 have paralysed government programs and affected movements in the region.
However, peace is slowly returning to the region because of the ongoing joint police and UPDF operations following the launch of the second disarmament on July 17th, 2021. So far 88 guns and 700 rounds of ammunition have been recovered through voluntarily means. The forces have increased deployment in addition to deploying four helicopters, two from the army and the other from the police to boost surveillance in the region.
The forces have also intensified patrols along major highways such as Moroto, Kotido, Kotido Kaabong and Kotido to Abim, which the motorists had abandoned for fear of attacks. Moses Mudong, an elder and resident of Lopei sub-county in Napak district, says that although there are incidents of theft by rustlers, they have gone down compared to the past few months.
“We could not walk a distance of five kilometres either going to the health center or even to the garden because the situation was bad but right now we are seeing some improvement in peace,” he said. Peter Achila, a resident of Nakamistae village in Nadunget sub-county has appealed to the government to fight hard and establish permanent peace in Karamoja.
“How I wish government works hard and make Karamoja be the most peaceful region, “he said. Simon Kotol, a tour guide and resident of Kotido Municipality, says that the insecurity has rendered most of the tour guide jobless.
“We don’t receive tourists because of the current situation in the region yet that used to be our main source of earning. We are requesting the government to make the insecurity in Karamoja history,” he said.