Difficulty in accessing clean water is affecting smooth military operations along the Uganda-Kenya border.
This was one of the challenges presented by the outgoing UPDF 3rd Division Commander, Maj Gen James Nakibus Lakara, while handing over the office to the new division commander, Brig Dickson Olum, in Moroto Army Barracks at the weekend.
Maj Gen Lakara said accessing water in areas such as Lopelipel and Lokwameri, corridors that criminals use to ferry guns from South Sudan and Kenya to Karamoja, is difficult.
“We have deployed soldiers in these dangerous corridors but the challenge we are facing in those areas right now is poor access to water,” he said.
According to Gen Lakara, who is set to take up responsibility of the deputy commander of Africa Union Mission in Somalia, there are no clean water sources in the areas.
He added that the only available source of water is the seasonal rivers which is shared with animals, putting soldiers at risk of contracting waterborne diseases.
He added that land grabbing, encroachment on army land and internal border disputes in Karamoja was threatening the achieved peace. He asked his successor Brig Olum to handle the issues.
Brig Olum said: “I am ready to work to add on what Maj Gen Lakara Nakibus has left and I appeal for the cooperation of unit commanders.”
Maj Gen David Muhoozi, the commander of Land Forces, who was presiding over the handover ceremony, called upon soldiers to be alert to prevent attacks by Somalia-based al-Shabaab militants.
“Commanders, I want you to be awake all the time because you’re in a porous border that might be used by al-Shabaab to enter into the country,” he said.