Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) Commander for Land Forces and First Son, Lt. Gen. Muhoozi Kainerugaba has announced an end to “mercy” that has in the past been shown to armed cattle rustlers in the troubled Karamoja Sub-region.
“You have refused all our appeals! Well, now we are coming and hell is coming with us!” Kainerugaba tweeted.
His outburst comes after security forces in a joint search operation, yesterday, recovered at least five bodies of three civilian-geologists and two soldiers ambushed and killed by suspected armed cattle rustlers in Moroto District.
UPDF has long struggled to encourage armed cattle rustlers to abandon their activities but conservative estimates show the criminals have through persistent raids claimed almost 50 civilian lives and close to ten security officers in the last three months.
“My Karimojong brothers! We have begged you to stop the life of robbery and violence. We have begged you to stop attacking your neighbours but to no avail!” Lt Gen. Kainerugaba said on Twitter.
UPDF accounts show that 251 of the rustlers that operate like bandits were put out of action in 2021 alone. The army has since captured over 1,600 rustlers with about 15,000 livestock and 160 guns recovered.
To the concern of local leaders, insecurity in the Karamoja region has escalated, disrupting relative peace restored in 2008 after a five-year disarmament enforced by government.