The number of illegal arms entering Uganda from Sudan and Kenya is on the rise as the Karamojong seek to protect themselves from cross-border cattle raids, a new report says.
The report from the Feinstein International Center, a U.S-based academic and policy research organization, is based on field interviews from Moroto and Kotido districts. It says communities there support the government-led uniform disarmament program as the only means of bringing peace. Despite this, there is evidence that illegal arms are still entering the country and finding their way into the hands of citizens.
Crispus Kiyonga, the Minister of Defense, says he does not believe the results of the Feinstein International. He says the disarmament program in Karamoja has been very successful in reducing the trafficking of illegal arms and gun crime in the region.
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Kiyonga admits that the lack of a disarmament program in the neighboring countries is troubling for Uganda. He says the disarmament is a long term process that will continue even in coming months when the army in Karamoja hands over its mandate there to the Uganda Police.
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The disarmament exercise in Karamoja has been ongoing since 2001.