The Deputy Chief of Defence Forces, Lt Gen Peter Elwelu, assured the people of the Karamoja sub-region that the government will endeavor to restore peace in the area, calling upon the political leaders to join hands with the locals so that the problems of cattle raids and insecurity are solved.
Lt Gen Elwelu was addressing political leaders and government workers from the districts of Nakapiripirit, Nabilatuk, Amudat, at Nakapiripirit district headquarters.
Gen Peter Elwelu urged church leaders in the region to support efforts by the security forces in the disarmament exercise, saying they should play a leading role in changing the mindset of those who support the armed criminals.
He appealed to them to involve themselves in operation wealth creation activities happening across the region.
The Third Division commander Brig Gen Joseph Balikuddembe said that UPDF together with police will hunt for businessmen who are bringing and selling waragi in Karamoja because alcohol has been a lead cause of many criminal activities in the region.
The LC5s of Nakapiripirit and Amudat together with the RDC of Nabilatuk called for concerted efforts in improving communication among the political leadership in Karamoja.
The Minister of Defence and Veteran Affairs Vicent Ssempija Bamulangaki recently commended the UPDF for restoring Peace and Security in the Karamoja sub-region.
"I salute UPDF for recovering guns from warriors and bringing back stolen cattle to rightful owners,” the minister said while meeting officials from different sectors at the Ministry of Defence and Veteran’s Affairs headquarters in Mbuya.
The meeting was intended to create solutions for sustainable security and development in the region, according to the UPDF spokesperson Brig. Flavia Byekwaso.
According to the minister, the launch of the disarmament operation code-named “Usalama Kwa Wote" has helped the government recover many illegal guns which, in turn, has improved the security and stability in the region.
He also stressed the need to transform the region into one of the economic booming regions in Uganda by improving the livelihood of people through Operation Wealth Creation (OWC), disarmament, Parish Development Model (PDM) and other government programs.
The Minister for Karamoja Affairs Dr. Maria Goretti Kimono Kitutu, in her presentation, said there is a need to strengthen regional integration and cooperation as a means of addressing cross-border raids, conflict and illicit arms trafficking and facilitate cross-border trade.
She noted that there is a need to review and make efficient the current service delivery mechanisms to ensure they are fast and relevant like prioritizing the Karamoja region for infrastructure development programs under Health, Education, Works, Water and Agriculture sectors among others.
Dr. Kitutu also revealed that Civil-Military Cooperation (CIMIC) should be strengthened.
“It is our historical mission to transform Uganda from a subsistence economy to a modern, peaceful, industrial and transformed society by unlocking Karamoja’s vast potential in order to beacon a new era in its history as we move towards Vision 2040," she said.
The Chief of Defence Forces Gen Wilson Mbasu Mbadi rooted for mindset change because of the Karimajong’s cultural, traditional and geographical location.
He also thanked the leaders of Operation Wealth Creation for the role played in transforming the Karamoja region and the whole country at large.