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Reformed Warriors Remind Government to Fulfill Pledges :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Reformed Warriors Remind Government to Fulfill Pledges

The reformed warriors say that they have increasingly become vulnerable and exposed to the threats of attacks from the armed Pokot and Turkana from Kenya after surrendering their guns to the government. They are now accusing their political leaders of convincing them to give out the guns.
Some of the reformed warriors being paraded before the community during the reconciliation peace dialogues in Napak

Audio 4

Reformed warriors in the Karamoja sub-region have reminded the government to fulfil its promises to those who voluntarily handed over their guns. 

The government promised a token of iron sheets, goats and protection against armed Communities from neighbouring Kenya as a reward to warriors who voluntarily surrendered guns to security forces during a recent disarmament programme undertaken across the Karamoja region. 

In July, last year, the Ministry of Karamoja Affairs distributed over 7,155 goats to the beneficiaries but the pledge of iron sheets and more goats was never fulfilled. It later emerged that the iron sheets that were procured for the warriors were diverted, and taken by the ministers and other government officials. 

The reformed warriors say that they have increasingly become vulnerable and exposed to attacks from the armed Pokot and Turkana from Kenya after surrendering their guns to the government. They are now accusing their political leaders of convincing them to give out the guns for nothing in return.

Albert Lote, a reformed warrior from Matany Town Council in Napak district noted that a year after surrendering their weapons, they are still anxiously waiting for the pledge of livestock and iron sheets that have not materialized. He adds that they may be forced to return to rustling due to a lack of alternative means of survival. 

Moses Aleper, another reformed warrior says that the goats that were distributed did not reach the intended beneficiaries. He observed that they sold everything they owned to buy guns purposely for protection and survival, and are now frustrated with the government's failure to provide the same.  He says that the guns cost them between four and five million Shillings.

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Joseph Apaaseno, a reformed warrior from Panyangara Sub County in Kotido District said that are now threatened by hunger on top of the security crisis. He reiterated a need to deploy military forces along the borders between Kenya, South Sudan and Uganda to stop guns from entering the region.

Apaaseno said that many of them tried cultivating but their efforts were frustrated by the harsh weather conditions and now want the government to support them to venture into business to be able to feed their families.

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Andrew Sagal, a resident of Nabilatuk Town Council noted that the government should create employment opportunities for reformed warriors after fulfilling their pledges of livestock and iron sheets. Sagal urged the government to establish mineral factories in the region where all the youth could be employed and keep them busy in money making.

He said the government should take border issues seriously because that is where the trade for guns between the communities of Uganda and Kenya takes place.

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Napak District Chairman John Paul Kodet observes a need for an inclusive program to empower the reformed warriors to get alternative sources of income, continue with peace campaigns and stop thinking about criminal acts.

"Karamoja has suffered a lot due to insecurity, we do not want to witness this again. Let insecurity remain the history of our region," Kodet said, adding that Karamoja would enjoy permanent peace once the reformed warriors are captured and engaged in economic programs.

Maj. Gen Don Nabasa, the UPDF 3rd division commander challenged the reformed warriors to convince their colleagues who still own illegal guns to surrender them so that the government can support them uniformly. He said the reformed warriors take peace as a priority and be organized if they want the government to respond to their concerns swiftly.

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The joint security forces are currently conducting community peace dialogues to convince the cattle rustlers to voluntarily hand over their guns without prosecution.