Lawmakers from the Karamoja Sub-region, which is afflicted by cattle rustling, have begged the government to send in the Arrow Boys to combat the vice.
The Arrow Boys are a militia organization that was sent into the Teso Sub-region in 2003 to flush out the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels.
The legislators alleged the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) is not doing enough to solve what they called a security crisis in the sub-region during a joint press conference in Parliament yesterday.
The legislators from Teso, Lango, Bugisu, and Karamoja suggested the Arrow Boys should be deployed if the UPDF is unable to scale up its operations to end the cattle raids.
“The government should allow us to mobilize the Arrow Boys.” “The government should provide them with the appropriate firearms,” Hellen Alobo, a Soroti Woman MP, stated.
However, Brig Felix Kulayigye, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Defence and the Army, claimed that the MPs’ proposal would thwart disarmament efforts.
“We’re coordinating with police and other security personnel to keep the situation under control.” The idea of the Arrow Boys, on the other hand, cannot be explored since it would mean bringing guns back into communities, according to Brig Kulayigye.
He added: “So for now, we have sufficient forces till otherwise. I ask the honorable members to be patient with us because we have worked hard to keep the situation under control.”
Residents of Karamoja and nearby districts have been concerned about a return of cattle rustling in recent weeks.
Mr Remigio Achia (Pian County), the chairperson of the Karamoja Parliamentary Caucus, questioned why the army reportedly does not restore to the owners the cattle it purportedly recovers from rustlers.
“Despite security forces’ assertions that they have recovered 17,706 heads of cattle, these cattle have not been returned to their owners.” “The majority of the animals vanished under the watchful eye of the UPDF, either being transferred at night in the absence of obstacles or being escorted by the UPDF,” Mr Achia explained.
The claims, according to Brig Kulayigye, are unsubstantiated. “It would be helpful if they named the specific spot where the cattle were found.”