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NAKAPIRIPIRITI: The relationship between the Karimojong pastoralists and the UPDF soldiers deployed to carry out a peaceful disarmament in Karamoja seems to be getting worse after the soldier cocked his gun and showered bullets and killed 18 cows while 25 others got injured.
The incident that took place on sunday 17th of September in 407 army Brigade in Nakapiripirit has left everyone including leaders disturbed on how a soldier can just shoot at the animals. The animals belonged to the Pokot pastoralists and they were in the army custody after they were recovered from other cattle rustlers who had raided them.
The UPDF 3rd division acting spokesperson Major Moses Amuya confirmed the development describing it as regret.
“The 3rd Infantry Division of Uganda Peoples’ Defense Forces (UPDF) regrets the misconduct of one soldier that resulted in the loss of some cows in Nakapiripirit district-“he said in his message to the media.
He I identified the errant soldier by names as Private Baguma Yofesi who was among the security detail tasked to graze the impounded cows in the bush.
“These cows were impounded and they were still under Army’s protection until the owners come and collect them back but we are all wondering what came to the a soldiers mind and opened up his gun and sprayed bullets to the animals at Moruita protected Kraal, in Nakapiripirit District’- wondered Amuya
Major Amuya said the lost and injured cows are part of 291 livestock that were impounded on 9 September 2023, from Naborokocha and Pian Upe Game Reserve (raiding corridor) in response to the killing of UPDF Officer and 02 soldiers in August 2023, whereby same cows were earmarked to compensate the victims of raids.
“It should be noted that as operation pressure mounted against the criminals who killed soldiers, three (3) guns were recovered , seven (7) suspects have been arrested pending prosecution procedures while 38 exhibit cows were recovered”-he said.
According to Amuya preliminary investigation indicates that the soldier currently under detention at 407 Brigade Headquarters could have developed severe mental disturbance adding that he will be subjected to thorough medical check up to ascertain the root cause.
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Incidents of killing animals using guns by armed forces has increased, last week, a soldier attached to Uganda wildlife Authority in Suwam shot dead three Fresian cows in Bukwo claiming they had been eating grass at the protected game reserve.
Moses Pedo one of the pastoralists said its was shocking to see the forces who are mandated to protect Ugandans with their property turning to kill Ugandans and their properties.