Uganda: MPs Task Minister to Explain New Guns Entering Uganda

16 January 2020

Members of Parliament on the Defence and Internal Affairs committee yesterday tasked the State Minister for Internal Affairs, Mr Obiga Kania, to explain reports that Karimojong cattle rustlers are rearming.

The MPs said they had "credible information" that Karimojong rustlers are getting new guns through Kidepo National Park and warned of a return of insecurity in Karamoja Sub-region and the neigbouring areas.

"The absence of enough protection force in Karamoja is becoming a reality. Where is the Anti-Stock Theft Unit?" Mr Peter Abrahams Loki, the Kotido Municipality MP, told the committee.

He asked Internal Affairs minister to send a team to Karamoja Sub-region to find out why there is rearmament in the region.

Kitgum District Woman MP Margaret Lamwaka told the committee that a week ago, four guns entered Uganda through Karenga in Kidepo.

"The Karimojong are rearming themselves and this is a very big problem," she said.

In response, the Inspector General of Police, Mr, Martins Okoth-Ochola, who accompanied Mr Kania, told MPs that police under the Anti-Stock Theft Unit, which was formed to stop cattle rustling in Karamoja Sub-region is thin on the ground because of desertions.

He said for the last four years, police have not been recruiting to replenish the numbers but said they are in the process of recruiting 5,000 personnel to fight cattle rustling.

The MPs also asked the minister to explain how and why foreigners have continued to access Ugandan passports. Mr Kania said he would give a detailed response in writing to the committee.

Butambala MP Muwanga Kivumbi asked the Immigration department to explain the increment of the work permits given to foreigners from 12,000 in 2018 to 15,000 in 2019.

"There is a big problem of unemployment in the country but we see an increment in the work permits being given to foreigners. Who are these people getting the jobs when ours are suffering?" he inquired.

Mr Kania who oversees Immigration affairs docket, said they would explain in detail the categories of the work permits given to foreigners.

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