Following increased insecurity caused by intensified cattle rustling using guns, bow and arrows in Karamoja in the recent days, Uganda People’s Defense Force is calling for a law to regulate the local weapon that facilitates the situation.
UPDF and sister security agencies seek that government enacts a by law that regulates bow and arrows due to the level of danger it poses to security in Karamoja region. The Force has revealed that there is an increase in the number of bows and arrows used by cattle rustlers in the Karamoja sub-region.
Bows and arrows consist of an elastic launching device and long-shafted projectiles that have become a must-have for the Karamojong, especially herdsmen whose guns were taken away during the disarmament exercises previous carried out by UPDF.
There has been an increase in cattle raids and killings perpetrated by men armed with bows and arrows in the recent few months that has intensified insecurity in the area, which the security forces have based on to call for a law to regulate the weapons.
“These bow and arrows are the weapons of death which the government must restrict in the community because we may disarm the illegal guns but as long as the community is still keeping these arrows, we would have done nothing to stop insecurity,’’ Brig. Balikudembe UPDF 3rd Division Commander said.
Elias Kasirabo, the Commandant of Police’s Anti-Stock Theft Unit (ASTU) says the bow and arrows have been used to attack security personnel, leaving some of them with injuries. Kasirabo said that even if they have not yet gazetted the law, they will forge the way forward on how to get rid of them in the communities because it’s becoming a security threat.
Bernard Lokong, the youth councilor representing the Rupa sub-county says that the bow and arrows have mushroomed due to the escalating insecurity in the region. He added that there would be no reason for the government to remove illegal guns from Karamojong warriors and leave bows and arrows, yet these are all deadly weapons used for terrorizing the communities.
But Emmanuel Logiel, the former LC III chairperson for the Apeitolim sub-county in Napak district is skeptical about the move because the community has resorted to using bows and arrows for protection.
Logiel noted that in the Karamojong culture, the bow and arrow are used for hunting and serve other forms of traditional duties like piercing blood from the animals, among others, and suggests that the government should find means of regulating its usage because it might be impossible to get rid of the weapon
The peace loving natives in the area have welcomed the idea and hope that the law will bring about an improved level of peace.
“Let the security forces commit themselves to bring back peace in Karamoja, no one will think of acquiring these bows and arrows when there’s total peace in the region,’’ Logiel said adding that all the community wants is the total assurance of security because it’s the reason they are opting to use arrows for self-protection.
Since the joint security forces launched Usalama Kwa Yote operations in July last year, a total of 180 guns have been recovered alongside and 1,838 rounds of ammunition.
A few weeks ago, three geologists, 2 UPDF and a Makerere Student were violently killed by cattle rustlers in Karamoja while they were doing a routine mapping for minerals. The act depicts the rustlers in the area as gruesome with no mercy and calls for a law that will enable total disarmament including the bow and arrows.