KOTIDO, UGANDA: There is heavy deployment of joint Police and Uganda People’s Defense Forces-UPDF troops on major highways connecting Kotido district to other districts in Karamoja. The deployment is meant to stem ambushes by suspected Jie warriors targeting motorists and other road users.
Micheal Longole, the Karamoja Regional Police Spokesperson, says that the patrols on major Kotido highways are aimed at dealing with cattle rustlers who have made it a habit to ambush travelers and loot their belongings.
“We have doubled our operations, especially on the major high ways from Kotido to Kaabong, Kotido to Moroto, and Kotido to Abim, and its day and night,” he said.
Over the last two months, the suspected warriors have staged six ambushes in Kotido district killing 20 people. On June 2, 2022, the Kidepo Regional Internal Security Officer survived an ambush while driving to Moroto from Abim via Nyakwae road around 11 pm.
Earlier in the day, suspected warriors ambushed a private truck hired by the UN WFP around Kachere sub-county and robbed Shillings 400,000, three boxes of food and a mobile phone from a staff of Andre Foods International, a WFP partner.
On May 30, 2022, suspected warriors gunned down the speaker of Kamoru sub-county.
On May 27th, 2022, the warriors ambushed the Kotido Chief Administrative Officer together with his driver while driving from Moroto to Kotido but they managed to get away. On May 2nd, 2022, the warriors shot the LC III chairperson of Napumpum sub-county at Napumpum trading center.
On May 1, 2022, the rustlers ambushed two UPDF soldiers riding on a motorcycle as they passed through Loyoro in Kaabong to Kotido. One soldier was killed while the other escaped with injuries. Ambrose Onoria, Kotido Resident District Commissioner has cautioned visitors to the district against using shortcuts to connect to other districts, saying they are dangerous.
Speaking to URN on Thursday, Onoria said anyone traveling to Kotido and from Kotido to other districts in the region should use highways where they have deployed military patrollers. He also advised those using highways to move between 10 am to 3 pm.
Mark Longoria, a resident of Nakapelimoru village in Nakapelimoru sub-county, says that the insecurity in Kotido has seriously affected the household income. He said farmers are no longer going to the gardens, adding that the district is likely to face the hunger.
“We are going to face the hunger again like the one of 2006 because there is no single farmer in Kotido who has cleared their garden because of insecurity,” he said. Peter Lokut, a village health member of Nakapelimoru, said many children are malnourished and they can’t go and give them supplementary feeding.
“We have stopped moving to the villages because the warriors are every where and they don’t mind who you are,” he said.