Kampala — A TOTAL of 166 Karimojong warriors and 13 UPDF soldiers lost their lives during the disarmament exercise in the Karamoja sub-region last year.
According to the UPDF 3rd Division annual report, the cordon-and-search operation recovered 2,430 sub-machine guns, 36 hand grenades, three pistols and 11,630 rounds of ammunition.
Speaking to The New Vision, the division spokesman, Lt. Caesar Olweny, said 146 warriors were convicted by the division court martial for possession of illegal firearms, 55 were remanded, while 12 others were released on grounds of old age or being juveniles.
Olweny regretted the death of two civilians who were mistakenly shot, but added that the soldiers responsible for the shooting were arrested and are to appear before the court martial.
"There was a drastic drop in incidents of road ambushes by thugs on Karamoja highways, while the army recovered 8,562 raided animals during the year," said Olweny.
He said the division command voted the 405 Brigade based in Kotido district as the best performing sector in the exercise followed by the 407 Brigade deployed in Nakapiripirit district.
Olweny said the UPDF operations in the area have greatly curbed illegal firearms and thuggery adding that the army would not rest until the last illegal firearm is recovered from Karamoja.
He allayed fears that the army, now deployed in Karamoja, may be moved to Garamba Forest in the DR Congo to fight and eliminate the Lord's Resistance Army rebels.
"We have enough troops in Karamoja to handle security and ensure that peace and sanity returns to the sub-region that has had a troubled history of violence," said Olweny.