Karamoja: Security forces warn those misusing social media

Protests in Karamoja over rustling. Security have warned those on social media for tainting their name. PHOTO URN
Moroto, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The joint security forces currently battling armed cattle rustlers in Karamoja region have asked cautioned social media users against tarnishing their image.

Michael Longole, the Mt. Moroto Regional Police spokesperson, says that some people have taken to social media to spread malicious propaganda against the joint security forces. He explains that people are photo-shopping pictures to depict the joint security forces and human rights violators.

“The joint Security Forces have noted with concern the information, which is circulated by some people all over the social media concerning our operations in the areas of Kobebe, Naput, Nakabaat, Nakiloro and Rupa. This is to inform the General community that, the operation, which started on Thursday 24/03/2022 was targeted and pursuit operation intended to get guns used for Killing three geologists last month in Moroto,” he said.

Longole explains that they have so far recovered seven  guns and ammunition since they intensified operations in the targeted areas. According to Longole, the joint security forces have managed to arrest 20 suspects including two prime suspects believed to have participated in the murder of the three geologists and two UPDF soldiers.

The suspects are in the custody of UPDF as they await screening. He also says that they recovered one Police uniform but the two guns that were taken by the warriors after killing the three geologists and two UPDF are still missing.

“As the security forces continue looking for them and pursuing culprits involved in this murder. We urge the general community to disregard wrong information circulated on social media by some wrong elements, which is intended to discredit our operation, We are a professional force, abiding by the Police and UPDF Acts which respect the constitutional rights of people, and apply the principles of use of force and firearms whenever we execute our duty,” he said.

URN saw many disturbing pictures showing mutilated bodies of warriors allegedly killed by the joint security forces trending on social media.

“Those are photo-shopped pictures. We are professional forces and we can’t do that and besides that nobody has been cut to pieces in the entire Karamoja,” he said.
The joint security forces embarked on a fresh disarmament exercise in Karamoja in July last year when the region experienced a serious wave of insecurity perpetrated by cattle rustlers.

Benedict Lokut, a cross border peace promoter, says that peace will not prevail in Karamoja unless Kenya disarms the neighbouring Turkana pastoralists.

“You know the gun appetite among the Karimojong is too high, so whenever they see any person carrying the gun they salivate a lot and secure guns from across,” he said.

Clementine Nangiro, a resident of Natumkathiko village in Moroto Municipality, says those arrested with firearms should be jailed for life to serve as a lesson to others.

“The problem we have is also with the judiciary, which gives lesser sentences to some of these criminals. These criminals need to be given 100 years in jail so that in case God protects them and they complete those years by the time they return to their homes, they would be very weak to carry out raiding activities,” she said.

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