BY PPU REPORTER
President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has said the government will assist victims of cattle raids in Lango and Acholi sub-regions and has directed the state minister In-Charge of Northern Uganda, Hon. Grace Freedom Kwiyucwiny to coordinate with all the relevant authorities as well as the Office of the Prime Minister to document all the affected persons for them to receive relief aid.
The President further announced that all school going children from families affected by cattle rustling will be allowed to study for free in government schools until the situation normalizes.
President Museveni was yesterday responding to calls by Political and Cultural leaders from Lango sub-region whom he met at Baralegi State Lodge in Okwang sub-county Otuke district, to the government to assist the displaced persons in their areas.
The districts of Lango sub-region comprise Alebtong, Amolatar, Apac, Dokolo, Lira, Kole, Oyam, Otuke, Lira City and Kwania.
“I totally agree with you. We shall bring to the cabinet the issue that students of the displaced study for free until the situation stabilizes so that they don’t lose out from where they are now. We shall also compensate those who died during the raids and assist the injured. The Prime Minister should send relief to the displaced persons and the Minister for Northern Uganda should coordinate. I will assist each family,” the President pledged.
On the proliferation of guns in the sub-regions of Lango and Acholi that are brought in from neighboring countries, President Museveni pointed out that the main issue is to change the mindset of those who seek for arms and make them lose appetite for guns. He cited volatile situations in some of the neighboring countries but people living near those countries don’t bring in guns to Uganda.
“How can you control the whole region Somalia, South Sudan, Ethiopia, and the DRC there is war going on and it ends there but the people of Kasese or West Nile don’t bring guns. The problem here is raiders look for guns, they must lose appetite for the gun. They will look at a gun on the ground and will not touch it. You touch the gun, and you are dead. You wait they will lose appetite,” the President vowed.
President Museveni however reiterated his firm stand to end cattle rustling in Acholi and Lango sub-regions following the identification of the gaps that the rustlers use for continuing with their raids.
The President cited those gaps as slow response to the scene of crime and therefore recommended solutions that will bridge up the gaps.
“I went to Karamoja last year and I advised them to use phones in their kraals where a contact person in the kraal communicates to the battalion who in turn contact, that should make a quick response. Here in Lango and Acholi there are no kraals so there is need to set up a system to have a security contact per parish with a toll-free phone to ring the battalion that immediately calls the division that must also have soldiers who are on duty and alert 24 hours,” he noted.
President Museveni added that the quick response must be the eyes day and night in the form of planes and drones that must be dispatched immediately to the scene of crime to follow and see where the cattle rustlers have gone.
“These people are stealing cows which are easy to see during the day or at night. When the raiders are spotted, they can call the gunships that can also operate at night. We have all the capacity to solve this problem,” President Museveni vowed.
He further pointed out that once the rustlers are dispersed the Canine section of police can then easily track down the criminals.
The President cited the crimes committed in Masaka district where Police Canines helped in tracking down criminals who had killed innocent Ugandans.
He also noted that the issue of lack of manpower is not a problem adding that manpower can easily be mobilized from the youth who are willing to be conscripted into the force and will help in stemming cattle raids.
He said the government will in the meantime also recruit 12 Local Defence Units (LDUs) per parish in the districts bordering Karamoja who will be trained and equipped to help the army.
President Museveni also mentioned lack of being in contact with wananchi as one of the gaps raiders take advantage of to steal the animals. He said police and the army provide security services and they should be in contact with the consumers of their services. He advised Commanders to always consult and guide wananchi on matters of security.
He was optimistic that with the new command in the region, cattle raids will come to an end. The President introduced the newly appointed Commanders to the leaders, and they include Major General Don Nabasa the Commander of the 3rd Infantry Division based in Moroto, Brig. Gen. Keith Katungi the Commander of the 5th Infantry Division based in Acholi-pii and Brig. Gen. Mbusi Lukwago the newly appointed Chief of Operations of UPDF based at Land Forces Headquarters in Bombo.
President Museveni further pointed out corruption as another bottle neck and wondered how the security apparatus like the DISOs, ISOs and others just look on when the vice is rife in their areas.
“Be with the public because they are the victims of corruption,” he stressed, adding that some of the delegates from Acholi whom he met on Monday disclosed that there was some connivance with the army.
The President asked Resident District Commissioners (RDCs) to always compile a report on all such activities for easy follow up.
On the issue of infrastructure as raised by the Chairman of Alebtong district David Kennedy Odongo, President Museveni said security roads could be opened from Lake Bisina to Kapelebyong - Olilim- Abim to Orom in Kitgum district.
Commenting on the revival of Ground of Tactical Importance (GTI) as recommended by some leaders, President Museveni welcomed the idea as the move will deny raiders any passage through those points.
On the part of the Police Force, President Museveni directed that a police post be created in every sub-county with 18 personnel to properly manage security issues in their respective areas of jurisdiction.
On taking LC 3 Chairpersons to National Leadership Institute (NALI) in Kyankwanzi for training, President Museveni welcomed the proposal adding they will be clustered in groups of 500.
President Museveni also discussed with Leaders from the Lango sub-region a wide range of issues pertaining to the development of their area and some challenges they face of which he pledged to sort out some of them.
The Woman MP for Dokolo District, Hon. Cecilia Ogwal in her vote of thanks commended President Museveni for visiting the people of Otuke district where his home of Baralegi is located, adding that the people of the area have embraced very seriously government programs especially that of Wealth creation and the area is now developing.
Leaders present at the meeting included the Minister of Health Dr. Ruth Aceng, the Minister of Gender, Labour and Social Development Hon. Betty Amongi, the Government Chief Whip Hon. Hamson Obua as well as Mr. Sam Engola among others.
Also in attendance was the Prime Minister of Lango Cultural Foundation James Abal who led the cultural leaders while the Bishop of West Lango Diocese Bishop Julius Caesar Nina led the delegation of religious leaders.