Amudat, Uganda – In response to the escalating insecurity, the UPDF 3rd Division deputy commander, Brig. Gen Felix Busizoori, has announced the decision to seal off Amudat district, preventing Pokot pastoralists from entering neighboring districts until a state of peace is achieved.
Joint security forces in the Karamoja sub-region have imposed a ban on the movement of Pokot Pastoralists across the borders into neighboring districts. This action comes in the wake of numerous attacks on both local communities and security personnel in Nakapiripirit and Nabilatuk districts.
Recent events include the killing of two UPDF soldiers by Pokot warriors, with an additional soldier sustaining injuries while attempting to recover stolen cattle in Nakapiripirit district.
Brig. Gen Busizoori reported that intelligence indicates a significant portion of the firearms used to perpetrate acts of terror within the Pian communities originate from Pokot West in Kenya, passing through Amudat district.
To address this situation, military deployments have been initiated along the borders of Amudat and its neighboring districts, with the intention of preventing the movement of Pokot pastoralists beyond their own district. The Pokot community has also been accused of harboring individuals in possession of firearms, which are used to commit various criminal activities.
Peace dialogues have been held within the Pian community, resulting in commitments to curtail the ongoing insecurity. Sylvia Awas, the woman Member of Parliament for Nabilatuk district, highlighted the serious retaliations taking place between the Pian and Pokot communities, leading to heightened insecurity.
Awas acknowledged the presence of a limited number of firearms in the hands of individuals associated with the Pian community. Efforts are being made by local leadership to encourage the voluntary surrender of these firearms to the authorities. However, concerns regarding continuous attacks by Pokot cattle rustlers have created hesitancy among the community members.
Awas further emphasized the need for the security forces to disarm the armed Pokot community, enabling both groups to reestablish a peaceful coexistence. The apprehension of twelve suspected cattle rustlers in July 2023 stands as an example of security forces’ actions against retaliatory attacks between the Pian and Pokot communities.
The ongoing conflict between these two communities originated from a deadly attack by the Pian community in Amudat district, resulting in the unfortunate death of Lochuman Komole Lobai, a prominent elder in the region. In response, the Pokot community retaliated, vowing to avenge the incident by targeting twenty members of the Pian community.