UPDF destroys 378 firearms recovered from Karimojong warriors
Over 378 firearms confiscated from Karimojong warriors have been destroyed by the army “to highlight how worthless the weapons are.”
The Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces (UPDF) has been engaged in the campaign with the African Amnesty on the voluntary surrender of illegal firearms held by civilians in Karamoja sub-region. The weapons were destroyed on April 30, 2022, at Kotido airfield in the presence of local leaders, the community, and the combined security forces with the primary purpose of stopping the circulation of illicit weaponry.
Karamoja sub-region has been witnessing increasing instability after heightened livestock rustling, assaults on people, and security by alleged warriors from inside the area and neighboring Kenya.
Maj Gen Geoffrey Katsigazi Tumusiime, the deputy inspector general of police who represented the Internal Affairs minister presided over the burning of illicit guns that were confiscated from all the nine districts of Karamoja between 2018 and 2022.
Tumusiime observed that Karamoja has suffered at the hands of few persons who illegally carry guns, putting the entire town vulnerable. Tumusiime decried cattle rustling, noting that the government has developed additional development plans, which the people of Karamoja should accept.
He also asked the leaders at all levels, elders, and community to have one voice in the battle against insecurity and work together with the forces to guarantee that all illicit firearms are retrieved from the hands of the bad elements. Florence Kirabira, the coordinator of the small arms control program, stated that the Africa Amnesty Commission campaign, which came to a close on April 30th in Karamoja sub-region commenced on January 23, 2022.
Kirabira said the major purpose was to encourage programs for voluntary surrender and collection of illegal firearms from the civilian population in the nation in accordance with the AU “Silencing the Guns in Africa by 2030” proclamation. Kirabira indicated that even though the time has gone for the campaign, the voluntary surrender of illicit firearms continues till peace is reached in the area.
“When you offer surrender of a gun, you will not be prosecuted, you will not be humiliated, you will be provided privacy in order not to identify you as someone who has been possessing this gun.
And this is what this period was all about – to allow that amnesty time for individuals to volunteer the surrender since we know a segment of the populace as we were going about throughout this operation, many of them were expressing their tiredness in possessing these firearms,” said Kirabira.
The UPDF 3rd Division commander, Brig Gen Joseph Balikudembe stated that the burning of the illicit weapons proves that as security, they are not interested in the guns gathered from fighters.
He claimed that their figures suggest that Kotido is in the forefront with illicit guns followed by Nabilatuk.
Balikudembe claimed that many of these firearms were gathered from Kotido district which motivated them to perform the burning of guns in Kotido so the people would realize that what they hold is meaningless.
Paul Lote Komol, the kotido LC V chairman complimented security for the wonderful work done to bring calm to the area. Komol added as leaders of Kotido, they are eager to work along with security authorities to guarantee that they restore their lost tranquillity.
Peter Lokii, the Jie County MP in Kotido Municipality stated security should concern about preventing the flow of firearms from the n couneighboringtries including Kenya and Sudan to Karamoja. Lokii believes if the sources of these firearms are stopped, there would be no other possibility for new guns to enter into Karamoja following the disarmament.
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