KARAMOJA – The Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces, UPDF has involved Women, peace groups, from the Karamoja sub-region in the ongoing disarmament exercise.
The women groups are involved particularly to persuade their husbands and other warriors in their communities to embrace voluntary disarmament.
Brigadier Joseph Balikudembe, the 3rd Division Commander urged the women to be part of the pacification efforts.
He noted that they would become more vulnerable if their husbands died in raids or forceful disarmament.
The call comes at the height of the forceful disarmament exercise that started on 19 July.
Addressing women peace group leaders from Kaabong and Karenga in a meeting on Wednesday, Brig. Balikudembe noted that pacification of the region was not only the responsibility of the UPDF and sister security forces but an all involving process where women’s role in raising awareness and developing actionable strategies to reduce the threat of small arms including their proliferation.
“It’s imperative to engage and facilitate women’s meaningful and inclusive participation in the field of disarmament and non-proliferation to increase our peace dividends that can be leveraged to build the foundations for lasting peace within our communities and sub-region,” Balikudembe said.
Keren Narem, a member of Mam ngejie peace group from Kaabong district promised to speak to the armed youths and men to handover in their guns voluntarily to benefit from a pardon. However, she urged the UPDF to use minimal force while conducting their operations.
She recalled that during the first disarmament, there were many instances of human rights abuses, including torture, and killings. The youths were also structured with a call to desist from criminal activities. According to the Resident District Commissioner of Kotido district, Peter Logiro youths are directly involved in cattle rustling.
The Karenga Resident District Commissioner, Samuel Mpimbaza Hashaka said women and the youth are always the missing links in the disarmament program.