Story By Steven Ariong
In October 20th 2019 is the year that Karamoja region again experienced a new wave of cattle rustling and road ambushes soiling the 15years of peace that the region had gained after the successful disarmament exercise of 2004 to 2008 where government managed to collect 49,000 guns in Karamoja.
These incidents hampered the high speed of development that the region had started seeing until 2021 when the joint security forces, Army and Police relaunched another deadly operation to get rid of the guns used by the Karimojong.
No body at one point could believe that the forces would again reinstate order in the region.
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But with the presence of four no nonsense commanders led by Brig Joseph Balikudembe the 3rd division commander, his deputy Brig Felix Busizoori, Commissioner of Police Erias Kasirabo commandant Anti-stock theft unit and Francis Chemusto the regional police commander Mt.Moroto region.
The four head boys have managed to scatter the hideouts of the Karimojong cattle rustlers who had massively regrouped themselves to destabilize the region.
So far under the joint disarmament, 600 guns have been recovered in the region and more are still being recovered.
These two sister forces work jointly where by cattle rustlers arrested without guns are prosecuted by police in the courts of law while those with guns are prosecuted by the army court martial.
The major routes that had become impassable due to insecurity such as Moroto to Kotido, Kotido to Kaabong have now become passable with army and Astu personnel patrolling the routes
Speaking to this website Brig Joseph Balikudembe said the current situation in Karamoja is under control adding that no more warries.
“We are on top of the situation and Sanity is already back in Karamoja expect some small theft but we are addressing that one also,”-says Balikuddembe
While Brig Felix Busizoori the deputy 3rd division commander said they have embarked on dealing with criminals sneaking into the country with guns.
“We have embarked on closely monitoring the porous border to make sure that no guns cross from Kenya, South Sudan to Karamoja,”Busizoori told this website.
Additionally, Erias Kasirabo the commandant of Antistock theft unit said all the illegal cattle markets that rustlers had established for selling stolen animals have all been closed.
According to Commissioner Kasirabo, cattle rusting had turned out to be a lucrative business where rustlers would connive with animal traders in Teso, Bugisu and other parts of the country.
“The raiders would raid animals and the traders load them into the trucks and move at night but when we established animals check points, we are not registering theft of animals as it used to be,”says Commisioner Kasirabo
On his part, Francis Chemust the RPC Mt.Moroto region says most of the rustlers are already in jail and that they will continue jailing them until the region becomes peaceful.
Mose Tikol a resident says so far the region is relatively peaceful unlike those days when people could enter into their houses as early as 5pm fearing to be attacked by rustlers.
The district chairperson Nabilatuk Paul Lokol also acknowledged that the region is peaceful but implores security to deal seriously with some remaining pockets of cattle thefts.
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