President Yoweri Museveni who is also the Commander in Chief of the armed forces has summoned the UPDF’s top commanders over a major assault on revenge cattle raids in Karamoja area.
The raids have left a number of people and other injured whereas a number of cattle heads have also been stolen in the area that has enjoyed peace in the last years since the disarmament exercise by government.
Speaking on Sunday, Museveni said the meeting for the top security commanders will decide the final solution to deal with the remerging cattle raids in Karamoja that he said were sparked off by a Karamajong warrior who was recently released from prison after serving 10 years.
On return, the suspect identified as Acucu found his wives married to other men and all his cattle gone.
During Museveni’s three day stay in Karamoja, he was informed that Acucu who is currently roaming the Jie and Turkana of Kenya was not helped by Police and the local leaders to recover his animals after return from prisons.
He consequently mobilised criminal gangs and attacked and raided cattle from the Dodoth resulting in counter raids by the Dodoth that has left over 400 people dead in two years.
“The Dodoth rejected peace talks with the Jie and have vowed to harm them. They just want revenge. This cycle must be broken peacefully,” Museveni said.
Speaking to commanders of top security organs including the UPDF, SFC, Police, ISO and the Anti-stock theft unit of the police in a meeting at Morulinga State Lodge in Napak District, Museveni said the revenge attacks have led to the birth of other criminals who have taken advantage of the situation to form gangs using mobile phones across clans to raid and steal animals.
The president urged security agencies to take time, listen and act.
“Don’t beat or torture them but interrogate and avoid impatience. Acucu organized the first raid that resulted in counter raids. I now direct that a legal or a patient political actor be identified to investigate how this injustice started. In addition to military intervention, we must help them heal. Military alone
The president said for government to be accepted among tribes, it must revenge the wrong.
“What we have now is privatised revenge, modern governments revenge for victims. That is when people can sit back and trust government like they have done for the last 15 years. It is easy to isolate the wrong doers. This calls for discipline and high skills in military science,” he said.
President Museveni cited cattle as a major point of conflict and called for cattle management including using chips inserted in the animals to trace movement and registration.
He cautioned security agencies to be firm with fairness and use intelligence to expose the bankruptcy.
The president said justice in the traditional societies in Karamoja is very sensitive and if not meticulously followed, clans will come for you, pointing out unfairness, committing wrongs and vendetta as some of the wrongs.
‘Treat them firmly but with fairness. The one who steals someone’s cow must pay. It needs patient intelligence not arrogance of colonial and neo-colonial actors,” he said.
The meeting discussed various strategies that will be tabled at the high command of the UPDF before implementation.
Following the onset of the raids, government started both voluntary and forced disarmament exercises in Karamoja region that have gone on for over three months.