UPDF intensifies campaign on ‘Voluntary Surrender’ of small arms, light weapons in Kotido District

The Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces (UPDF) intensified the Voluntary Surrender of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) campaign in Kotido District by meeting all stakeholders involved in the disarmament exercise.

On 26 January, 2022, UDPF officers met a number of cultural, religious, political leaders including women and youth at Kotido District Hall during the community policing workshop coordinated by the National Focal Point (NFP) on small arms and light weapons.

The community policing workshop was intended to sensitize and mobilize the Karamajongs to voluntarily surrender their illegally possessed guns.
Kotido District is known for being the most notorious district in gun violence in the whole of Karamoja Sub-region.

Speaking at the workshop, the Resident District Commissioner for Kotido district Mr. Onoria Ambrose noted that everyone in Karamoja sub-region has a role to play in addressing the issue of gun violence.

“Everyone here has been a victim of gun violence. The issue of gun violence in this sub-region must be holistically handled,” Mr. Onoria told stakeholders at the workshop.

Col Chris Bagamba, UPDFs advisor on peace support operations who also works with NFP, observed that the lives of all Ugandans and foreigners who either stay or visit Karamoja must protected.

As government, as police, as leaders, we cannot allow people to live in tyranny. That’s why government and foreign supporters have come up with this ‘voluntary surrender of illegal arms campaign. Col Bagamba observed.

The 405 Brigade Commander Col Wilberforce Sserunkuma underscored UPDFs commitment to pacifying Karamoja. We are committed as UPDF and thats why at times, we lose lives while protecting kraals and animals,” he said.

During the discussion, Sheikh Isa Keli Pedo, the District Kadhi, North Karamoja, called upon security agencies in the sub-region to strengthen their efforts in pacifying Karamoja because it is its duty of the security agencies to protect peoples lives and their property.

The ‘voluntary surrender’ of illegal arms campaign is in line with the African Unions Amnesty Month and is intended to improve public safety by reducing the number of illegal firearms in the hands of Ugandan communities.

Under the amnesty, those who surrender their illegally owned weapons/arms voluntarily, are not subjected to disclosure, humiliation, arrest or prosecution.

The workshop was also attended by the LC5 chair person for Kotido District Lotee Paul Komol, DISO Kotido Samuel Kanyange, RPC Okullu Richard, Kotido Municipality Mayor His worship Polor Abrahams, RISO North Karamoja Wachara Godfrey, cultural, religious, women, and youth representatives.

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