The Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces (UPDF) 3rd Division Court Martial (DCM) that sat at the Division Headquarters in Moroto on 14th – 15th September 2020, sentenced Loiki Apanaile and Lokure Achon to nine years’ imprisonment for being in possession of firearms without licenses.
According to Deputy Spokesperson for Ministry of Defense, Lt. Col. Deo Akiiki, the military court found the two guilty and in contravention of section 3 (1), (2), (a) and (b) of Uganda’s Firearms Act Cap 299.
While sentencing the convicts, Col Bernard Tugume said that the charge was grave in nature because the recovered weapons could have been part of those used to conduct illegal activities leading to not only loss of innocent lives in Karamoja Sub-region and its neighborhood but also loss of community livelihoods.
“Those who have persisted in possessing illicit firearms in Karamoja sub-region are not only a danger to the people but also obstruct the opportunities for the sub-region to develop. They are the enemies of the people,” said Col Tugume.
“You are therefore sentenced to 9 years’ imprisonment in any government prison. This, we hope, will send a warning message to those still with illicit firearms.” He ruled.
The Karamojong, a traditionally pastoralist group living in Kotido and Moroto were initially used to keeping firearms for securty of their animals as well as facilitating raids to neighboring districts for cattle, a practice which usually resulted into displacing and causing untold human suffering.
Government has since embarked on a disarmament program involving criminalizing possession of arms without a license to discourage residents from this practice.
In exchange for the weapons, the government promised investment and development projects for the area, and to deploy security personnel in security zones (along the borders with neighboring districts and neighboring countries) to guarantee the protection of the Karamojong from invasion by other tribes.
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