Following the escalating insecurity in Karamoja sub-region, the local leaders have put an unusual request to the government; at least 21,000 submachine guns.
The district and sub-county leaders who aware attending a regional security meeting told the commander of the UPDF 3rd Division Brigadier Joseph Balikuddembe that it no longer makes sense for them to have disarmed and then be sitting ducks for the criminal raiders who attack them at will, knowing they are not armed.
The leaders said they had wanted to requisition for 15,000 submachine guns from the government, but decided to revise the number more logically to ten guns per village. There are over 2,000 villages in Karamoja which according to their calculation would need 20,000 guns.
Adding the higher level leaders comprising 102 sub-counties including town councils, 21 constituencies and nine districts, another about 1,300 SMGs would be needed, bringing the total requisition to about 21,000.The security situation in Karamoja has deteriorated drastically in the past two months, with random ambushes being staged by armed “warriors” who grab anything from vehicles.
This has prompted traders who have been supplying food to Karamoja to suspend operations and until peace returns to the sub-region. The cattle rustlers used to steal cattle but these have been depleted as they no longer remain in the sub-region. The animals are instead quickly sold off to neighbouring districts and taken straight to the market for slaughter.
Felix Lochale, the chairperson Karenga district said the UPDF not doing enough to contain the situation.Paul Lokol the chairperson Nabilatuk district, blamed the army for taking their time to respond whenever the armed raiders attack.
But the UPDF leadership is non-committal about responding to the Karamajong leaders’ request to re-arm the unarmed good people against the armed bad ones. The commander of the 3rd Division Brig. Joseph Balikudembe instead said operations to secure Karamoja has been beefed up with more troops.