The Ugandan government is to make another attempt at ridding Acholi region of illegally held guns, after an ultimatum to surrender such weapons was recently widely ignored.
"Yes the ultimatum didn't work, we hope that the idea of having a committees will work; it will include people we think are resourceful because they know their villages and the people in their area," said Lt Isaac Oware of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) 4th division in Gulu.
Under the new plan, village committees will involve county security chiefs, local police officers, local council leaders and a few community members who will be recruited to help raise awareness about the need to hand in weapons.
When contacted for comments, the Assistant Superintendent of police in Gulu Mr Johnson Kilama said that: "We are doing this to help the community."
The reaction of the local leaders and communities have been mixed, with others saying that they are pleased with the new approach, while others view the move with suspicion and say that with the LRA out of the region; it is geared towards driving fear into the community.
"It's a good gesture if that is going to be done so that our community can live without fear," William Achuma a parish chief in Koch Goma in Nwoya District, said.
Another family who suffered at the hands of gun wielding thugs in Agago said that told Acholi Times on conditions of anonymity that most people are keen to see guns out of the hands of criminals, because it is the main source of fear and insecurity in the region.
A 69 years old elder in Kitgum who also didn’t want to be named for fear of any repercussions called on the army to allow the civilians to resettle peacefully to their villages without the need for anymore operations.
“The main sources of weapons in the region are members of the LRA who bypassed disarmament procedures, local militia groups who were armed by the UPDF, and UPDF deserters, which civilian will carry a gun when we have all been in the camps? He asked.
Some observers called on the army to work towards gain the trust of local communities in northern Uganda, because of its bad human rights record in the region.
They cited disarmament efforts in the north-eastern region of Karamoja which were met with accusations of extra judicial killings and brutality levelled against the UPDF, with scores killed during clashes between the army and local communities.
Others question the government’s motive in unfolding the exercise after the amnesty law had expired and has not been renewed. By A Web design Company
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