Ugandan soldier, chief shot and killed in separate Karamoja attacks

Karamoja regional police spokesperson, Micheal Longole (left) and the UPDF 3rd Division spokesperson, Maj Isaac Oware parade some of the guns recovered from suspected cattle rustlers while addressing journalists in Moroto District. FILE PHOTO | STEVEN ARIONG

Authorities in Uganda are investigating two incidents in which a soldier and a sub-county chief were shot and killed in two separate attacks in the northeastern Karamoja region.

In Kaabong District security forces are hunting assailants suspected to be Karimojong warriors who shot and killed a Ugandan army officer in a Sunday afternoon attack which left two of his colleagues also injured.

Pt Lopec Lotuke and two of his colleagues were on a motorcycle when they were ambushed.

Describing the attack as unfortunate, Major Isaac Oware, the Uganda Peoples’ Defence Force 3rd division spokesperson said: “Pt Lopec was the one riding a motorcycle. So, as they reached in between Loyoro and Losilang, the warriors showered them with bullets. He died instantly.“

According to Maj Oware, the two other soldiers sustained injuries on their legs and they were taken to Kaabong Hospital where they are getting treatment.

He said Pt Lopec whose duty station was in Entebbe, Wakiso District, was on his pass leave. His body was taken to his ancestral home in Kotido District for burial.

Chief’s murder

Meanwhile, police in Kotido District are investigating the circumstances under which Napumpum Sub County LCIII chairperson was shot dead by unknown assailants.

Paul Lowok, 41, was shot dead by unknown assailants suspected to be Karimojong warriors in Napumpum trading centre on Sunday night.

Mr Micheal Longole, the Karamoja regional police spokesperson said detectives visited the scene and recovered two bullet projectiles from the wall of his house.

“We are yet to understand the motive of the killers but we will get them by all means,” Mr Longole said.

His body was taken to Kotido Hospital for Postmortem.

Boda boda rider shot dead

The two attacks come just hours after police in Napak District in the same region said they were hunting for a group of suspected Karimojong rustlers who allegedly shot and killed a boda boda rider.

Samuel Mangat, 30, was shot en route from Apeitolim to Matany town after dropping a passenger.

Despite the heavy security deployment in the mineral-rich northeastern region — with the First Son who doubles as the UPDF commander Land Forces, Lt Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba, promising hell to the cattle rustlers — armed attacks on civilians and soldiers by suspected Karimojong warriors continue unabated.

Other attacks

In February this year, cattle traders from Teso region were shot at in an ambush around Kotido but no one died although they were left with injuries.

In March, another group of cattle traders was shot at in Kotido, and animals were taken from them.

In April, four lorries carrying fresh food from Mbale to Moroto were shot at on Nakapiripirit-Moroto road leaving one injured.

In the same month, a businessman in Kotido was shot dead at Panyangara on Moroto-Kotido road.

However, Mr Longole says the situation is under control and that the security forces were on top of the situation. 

In July last year, UPDF and the police renewed their disarmament operations and arrested several suspected cattle rustlers. By March 2022, the forces said they had recovered 209 guns amidst resistance from the suspected rustlers. Last week, security officers said they had recovered 11 guns on Monday following a house search operation.

About 1,889 youth have so far been arrested.       

The EastAfrican

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