Three suspected criminals abandon gun, motorcycle at police checkpoint

A gun, motorcycle and maize which were allegedly abandoned by suspected arms traffickers at Karenga Police checkpoint on April 26, 2022. Photo/ Steven Ariong 

What you need to know:

  • Karamoja -- a sparsely populated and underdeveloped region -- has been wracked for decades by insecurity due to tit-for-tat armed cattle raids between clans.

Security operatives in Karenga District have launched a manhunt for three people who allegedly abandoned a gun and a motorcycle they were travelling on at a police checkpoint and fled.

Mr Micheal Longole, the Karamoja regional police spokesperson said the suspects were travelling from Karenga District side to Kaabong District.

He said when the suspects reached at the checkpoint mounted by the Anti-Stock Theft Unit (ASTU) personnel in Kapedo, they abandoned the motorcycle and a sack of maize in which they had stashed the gun.

"When these criminals realised that police had sensed something, they all took off, abandoning their motorcycle and a bag of maize,"he said.

Mr Longole added that when the police opened the sack they recovered SMG riffle UG 0112.

He said security operatives in the sub region are tracking the suspects while the motorcycle is in police custody.

Mark Icumar, one of the residents expressed concern of what he described as high rate at which suspected cattle rustlers are acquiring guns despite heavy deployment of the army and police officers.

According to him, some residents are said to be acquiring loans from group savings to buy weapons, a claim this publication could not independently verify.

"Most people, including those who claim to have stopped rustling cattle are running for the guns because of the harsh living conditions; no jobs, no food for families…"he said.

Karamoja -- a sparsely populated and underdeveloped region -- has been wracked for decades by insecurity due to tit-for-tat armed cattle raids between clans.

With a porous border and thriving illicit trade, the Karimojong nomadic communities have staged several often-fatal road ambushes and robberies in the lawless region.

The government has in the past conducted several security operations to retrieve illegal firearms from the community.

Some 170 illegal guns and more than 15,000 stolen cattle have been recovered since July last year, according to government figures.

At least 251 suspected cattle rustlers were killed last year in the sub-region by a joint force of police and the army, with most deaths attributed to forceful disarmament operations.

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