KABOONG, UGANDA: The joint security forces in Karamoja sub-region are holding seven suspected rustlers over illegal gun trafficking. Among the suspects are three local leaders who are accused of dealing with gun traffickers and illegal possession of firearms.
The chairpersons are Ngorok Eluktopere, Lonya Akol, the LCII chairperson of Lopethakori parish and Lodukali Lokol, the LCII chairperson Kalapa trading center in Kaabong district.
Maj Isaac Oware, the UPDF 3rd Division Spokesperson said the suspects were arrested following an intelligence-led operation. According to Oware, they also managed to arrest another suspect identified as Mariko Teko, a resident of Lokiriama village, Turkana county in Kenya who has been dealing with Ngorok to trade in guns. Teko was arrested last week after being trailed by security personnel.
“We are aware that Teko has been smuggling guns from Kenya, brings them to Karamoja, and exchanges them for cows in the districts of Kotido, Kaabong, Napak, Nakapiripirit, and Moroto with the help of Ngorok who looks for the market, we are now hunting for those customers’’ Oware said.
Meanwhile, security personnel in Kaabong district have arrested two LCII chairpersons alongside other suspects identified as Lokieny Lonya, a brother to Akol Lonya the LCII chairperson, and Lokeris Lomuso, for firearms trafficking with Toposa community of South Sudan.
Michael Longole, the Mt. Moroto Regional Police Spokesperson said that the rustlers are now focusing on commercialized raids which are taking center stage.
Longole noted that the cattle rustlers had resorted to commercialized raids where livestock was raided, loaded into trucks, and transported outside the region which became hard for security to trace.
He says that they have heightened security at checkpoints to minimize the transportation of cattle.
So far, 244 guns, 930 live rounds of ammunition, and over 4,669 herds of livestock have been recovered since 16 May 2022, in the second phase of joint operations.
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