KOTIDO: Five Killed, Two Guns Recovered in UPDF Operation on Cattle Raiders

KOTIDO DISTRICT, UGANDA: The Uganda Peoples Defence Forces UPDF have recovered two illegal guns and dozens of ammunition in a cordon and search operation conducted in Rikitai Sub County, Kotido district.

The search was conducted in the kraals of Naregai village when UPDF followed cattle raiders who attacked kraals in Nadunget Sub County, Moroto district on Wednesday. The cattle were recovered from Rikitai in Kotido district on Thursday.

However, the cattle keepers were reportedly uncooperative and fired at the UPDF prompting the troops to retaliate leading to the death of five people. Their identities have not been established but locals say three of them were brothers while the other two are residents from the same neighbourhood.

The deceased are all youths aged between 17 and 25-years and are suspected to have been involved in the theft of cattle or possession of illegal firearms. The area where the scuffle took place is known for raids and possession of illegal guns since the 1980s.

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Locals said the UPDF was forced into action after the warriors refused to cooperate and threatened the troops. John Bosco Akore, a community mobilizer and member of Karamoja Elders’ Council said the armed warriors provoked the army.

Akore also says the warriors are now targeting local leaders, members of the peace committees, and pro-peace actors. Two months ago armed warriors killed the chairperson of the Kotido peace committee in what appeared to be an attack on peacemakers.

In recent, months the UPDF has conducted several cordon and search operations in Karamoja after intelligence information pointing to groups of persons or persons with illegal firearms used for raiding cattle. More than 30 guns have been recovered in different parts of Karamoja in similar operations.

Maj. Peter Mugisa, the UPDF 3rd Division Spokesman says that the UPDF is ready to use all available means to rid of guns from the hands of warriors. He is appealing to the local leaders to urge the youth to desist from raids and hand over illegal guns to the UPDF or police voluntarily.

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The LC III Chairperson of Panyangara Sub County Loruu Nabolikoko says as local leaders, they have advised the youth in different peace meetings to hand over illegal guns to the UPDF but the youth are adamant.

Additional Reporting by URN

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