Kitgum – At least 400 youth have formed arrow groups to guard against Karamojong cattle raiders. The youth from Orom, Orom East, and Kiteny sub-counties resolved to form arrow groups on November 12th following endless attacks by the rustlers.
The youth presented their resolution before the Defence and Internal Affairs Committee of parliament at Orom Sub-County on Wednesday. The committee had visited Kitgum on a fact-finding mission about the atrocities being committed by the rustlers.
Through their leader, Christopher Olweny, the group said the locals are tired of several travels by leaders to the areas to do fact-finding missions without results.
In their resolutions read to the team by Olweny, the locals demanded for security roads, new detaches, and weapons to confront the rustlers.
Nasaneri Acuru, an elder in Orom Sub-County, said the army has now turned to guard communal kraals leaving the cattle owners at the mercy of the raiders. Acuru said they have made their stand to use the arrow boys, and will not be deterred.
Lillian Aber, the Kitgum district woman Member of Parliament appealed to the committee to join hands with the area legislators to voice their concerns about atrocities committed by the rustlers because the many reports presented on the floor of parliament have not yielded results. Aber said she has herself presented the problems caused by the Karamojong about seven times but is yet to see real action.
She noted the concerns from the locals about the inaction of the UPDF deployed to guard them and appealed to the committee to push for the recruitment of native soldiers who understand the language and terrain of the places affected.
Margaret Lamwaka, the Chua East member of parliament noted with concern the laxity of the soldiers deployed to guard the civilians. According to Lamwaka, the soldiers are always in the trading center drinking, which is causing a lot of resentment among the locals.
Christopher Obol Arwai, the Kitgum District LC V chairperson, said 12 people have been killed by the rustlers since January 2021 only in Orom Sub County. Arwai revealed that within the same time, the Karamojong have stolen 616 cattle, 1,000 goats, and 76 sheep. He noted the constant attacks by the Karamojong have left farmers in fear and affected their farming activities.
William Museveni, the Buwekula South member of parliament, who led the delegation to Orom Sub-county promised that the committee would work with legislators from the affected areas to ensure that security roads are opened in the three sub-counties.
Museveni said this will ease the movement of the UPDF and vigilantes while pursuing the warriors.
Since February this year, residents of Orom, Orom East, Kiteny sub-counties have been appealing to the government to open more detach and deploy more soldiers, to protect the civilians against Karamojong.
The residents have also been appealing to the government to revive and arm vigilante groups in areas that are prone to attacks by Karimojong cattle rustlers. Odera says residents are not pleased with the persistent incursions made by the warriors who continue tormenting locals by looting their animals, killing civilians, and raping women.