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Reformed Warriors Remind Govt to honor its Commitments

Reformed warriors in the Karamoja sub-region are calling on the government to honor its commitments to those who voluntarily relinquished their firearms.

Under the recent disarmament program carried out across the Karamoja region, the government pledged to provide iron sheets, goats, and protection against armed communities from neighboring Kenya as a reward for warriors who willingly surrendered their weapons to security forces.

While the Ministry of Karamoja Affairs did distribute over 7,155 goats to beneficiaries in July of the previous year, the promises of iron sheets and additional goats remained unfulfilled. It was later revealed that the procured iron sheets intended for the warriors were diverted and taken by ministers and other government officials.

The reformed warriors express growing vulnerability and exposure to attacks from armed groups, particularly the Pokot and Turkana from Kenya, following the surrender of their firearms to the government. They accuse their political leaders of convincing them to relinquish their guns without receiving anything in return.

Albert Lote, a reformed warrior from Matany Town Council in Napak district, emphasizes that a year after surrendering their weapons, they are still anxiously waiting for the promised livestock and iron sheets, which have yet to materialize. He adds that without alternative means of survival, they may be compelled to return to cattle rustling.

Moses Aleper, another reformed warrior, contends that the goats distributed did not reach the intended recipients. He explains that they sold everything they had to purchase guns for protection and survival, and they are now frustrated by the government’s failure to fulfill its commitments. He mentions that the guns cost them between four and five million Shillings.

Joseph Apaaseno, a reformed warrior from Panyangara Sub County in Kotido District, expresses concerns about both hunger and security issues. He calls for the deployment of military forces along the borders between Kenya, South Sudan, and Uganda to prevent firearms from entering the region. Apaaseno also highlights the need for government support to help them engage in business ventures to provide for their families.

Andrew Sagal, a resident of Nabilatuk Town Council, emphasizes the importance of job creation for reformed warriors after the government fulfills its pledges of livestock and iron sheets. Sagal urges the government to establish mineral factories in the region, offering employment opportunities to youth and contributing to economic prosperity.

Napak District Chairman John Paul Kodet advocates for an inclusive program aimed at empowering reformed warriors with alternative income sources, continuing peace campaigns, and deterring criminal activities. He emphasizes that Karamoja has suffered from insecurity and calls for a permanent end to such troubles in the region.

Maj. Gen Don Nabasa, the UPDF 3rd division commander, challenges reformed warriors to persuade their colleagues who still possess illegal firearms to surrender them voluntarily. He underscores the importance of reformed warriors organizing themselves and prioritizing peace if they want the government to promptly address their concerns.

Currently, joint security forces are conducting community peace dialogues to encourage cattle rustlers to voluntarily relinquish their firearms without facing prosecution.

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