On Wednesday, General Kainerugaba Muhoozi addressed the people of Acholi East and emphasized that not all Karimojong are bad people. He urged the locals to see the Karimojong as their brothers and sisters and not just a group of criminals.
General Kainerugaba acknowledged the concern of the Acholi people of Agago after they asked him to order security forces to treat all the people of Karamoja as rebels in the wake of rampant cattle raids. However, he urged the people to exercise patience as the security forces deal with the criminal elements.
"We must be careful not to generalize and label the entire population of Karamoja as bad people," the General said. He thanked the people of Acholi East for their cooperation and urged them to work together towards a peaceful coexistence with the Karimojong. The General's message was received positively by the people, and they expressed their gratitude for his guidance.
Despite the anger with which some local leaders presented their views, expressed gratitude for their honest.
"In UPDF, we call these kinds of meetings barazas, where you speak freely without fear," Gen Kainerugaba said.
Meanwhile, Gen MK who is the Senior Presidential Advisor for Special Operations approved a request made by the people of Acholi to withdraw UPDF soldiers hailing from Karamoja due to the existing hostilities between the two groups.
The locals had accused the Karamojong soldiers of collaborating with cattle rustlers to target their animals.
General Kainerugaba, who had been in Acoli East since Monday, held several security meetings and acknowledged that deploying the Karamojong soldiers in Acoli was a mistake. He announced that the soldiers would leave and be deployed elsewhere.
Speaking to this reporter, the 5Div commander, Brig William Bainomugisha, confirmed that the General's directive would be implemented within the next 72 hours (3 days).
The General was on Wednesday in Omia Pacwa Subcounty in Agago district where locals outlined a number of security issues including threats posed by cattle rustlers and elephant attacks, as well as the need for compensation for those that lost loved ones in the attacks.
Meanwhile the General said security in the area would be bolstered with helicopters to help with swift mobility to respond to cattle raids and quick identification of criminals as well as improve security roads for easy movements of soldiers fighting cattle rustlers.
Gen Kainerugaba was received by area leaders including Lilian Aber who invited him, Minister for Economic Monitoring Beatrice Akello and other MPs and local leaders.
Senior UPDF officers including Brig Joseph Balikuddembe the 3Div commander and his 5Div counterpart Brig William Bainomugisha have been with Gen MK for all his engagements.