The joint security forces battling cattle rustling in Karamoja have reported a decrease in the number of cattle rustlers in the area.
The removal of all Karimojong local defence unit men, who are presently undergoing training and have already been assigned a force number to become UPDF soldiers, is being blamed by the military.
Cattle theft is still happening, according to Capt. Edrin Mawanda, the UPDF 3rd division spokesperson, but it is down from when local defense unit troops were still operating in Karamoja.
“Since the withdrawal of LDUs in Karamoja for further training, we’ve seen a decrease in cattle rustling,” he stated.
According to Michael Longole, a spokesperson for the Karamoja regional police, Kaabong district, which had become a daily target for warrior raids, now only sees one raid per week, but when the LDUs were there, the district could see five raids per week.
President Museveni directed the recruitment of 2,400 local defence unit-LDU personnel in Karamoja in 2010 to assist in the consolidation of the peace that security agencies had secured in the region since the disarmament program began in 2001.
The LDUs, on the other hand, were more aggressive in their cattle rustling, requiring the army to evacuate them and send them for additional training.
Several guns recovered by the army from the invaders during the firefight were UPDF branded guns provided to the LDUs, according to Peter Loputhnyang, an elder.
“Since the LDUs were removed, the situation has calmed down, demonstrating that the entire problem was escalated by our own children, who were supposed to work with the forces to flush out the few remaining criminals, but instead took advantage of the same guns to cause insecurity in the region,” he said.
Another elder, Paul Lokut, claimed that the LDUs had used their position outside the barracks to connive with relatives who were not LDUs to raid neighboring areas.
“What used to happen is that these LDUs lived in their homes with their family, and they were always inclined to give their guns to the relatives to use in raiding, which was risky,” he explained.
Jessica Angolere, a mother from Nakapelimen village in Nadunget sub county in Moroto district, believes they should not be returned to Karamoja after the training.