Uganda – Karamoja women push men to surrender guns

Mamos Media

The Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) 3rd division commander, Brig Joseph Balikudembe interacting with the Karimojong Kraal leader during the mobilisation for volunarily hand over of guns by armed rusttlers in Moroto District recently. PHOTO/STEVEN ARIONG

By Steven Ariong

Women in Karamoja have urged government to protect them as they push husbands to hand over guns.

The women from several peace associations across Karamoja say they are being mistreated by husbands as they mount pressure on them to hand over guns to the government. 

Speaking to Daily Monitor in different interviews, the women said they are tired of living in circumstances of war and cattle rustling.  

Ms Veronica Nakiru, the secretary of Ekisil Women Peace Group, which was formed with assistance from Mercy Corps in Kotido District, said they are no longer interested in hiding guns for their husbands.

Ms Nakiru said whenever there are any attacks in the kraal, it is the women and children who bear the brunt of the clashes. 

She added that before the forceful disarmament between 2003 and 2008, the women were custodians of guns and treasured the weapons as sources of wealth before the guns were turned on them.   Advertisement

 “We realised that these guns do not discriminate when hired out for raid as it can be turned on you,” she said. 

Ms Betty Nakut, another woman under Itopoloi Peace Group in Napak District, said because of the peace they have enjoyed in the last 14 years when government disarmed the warriors, they are not ready to hide any gun in their homes.

Ms Nakut, who is among the 70 women that have volunteered to move across Karamoja with support from Mercy Corps Uganda, urged the women to come out and fight gun violence in the region.
She said Karamoja should be declared free of guns. 

“We are appealing to government to ensure we are protected from our husbands because we are now going to mount pressure on them to hand over the guns,” she said. 

Ms Monica Sagal, another woman from Sidok Sub-county in Kaabong District, said whenever Karamoja is insecure it is the women who suffer most. 

“We get raped by armed warriors in the bush while struggling to collect firewood to sell to feed our families, so we don’t want to see guns any more in Karamoja,” she said. 

The appeal for government protection follows the killing of women by husbands after they disclosed to the army where their husbands had kept guns recently.

Ms Stephany Namer, the chairperson of Women Peace Forum, said through the Ekisil programme supported by Mercy Corps, Karamoja women have realised that without their intervention, peace will never be realised. 

Ms Lily Naberei, a woman peace activist in Kaabong District, said they have been championing peace in communities, integrating the disarmed youth.  
Mr Michael Longole, the Karamoja regional police spokesperson, said women participation in the disarmament was very helpful. 

He said since the joint forces of police and army launched the third phase of disarmament in Karamoja in July, women have been secretly handing over guns kept by their husbands to police and army. 

 “The majority of guns that we have recovered from the Karimojong rustlers since we launched the exercise are brought by women yet previously they were custodians of guns,” he said.

 Mr Longole said from July 17, they have recovered 98 guns through voluntary disarmament in which 40 percent of the guns were handed over by women. He said the trend has changed and that women want peace and assured them of government protection. 

 Karamoja women push men to surrender guns

STEVEN ARIONG

Women in Karamoja have urged government to protect them as they push husbands to hand over guns.

The women from several peace associations across Karamoja say they are being mistreated by husbands as they mount pressure on them to hand over guns to the government. 

Speaking to this newspaper in different interviews, the women said they are tired of living in circumstances of war and cattle rustling.  

Ms Veronica Nakiru, the secretary of Ekisil Women Peace Group, which was formed with assistance from Mercy Corps in Kotido District, said they are no longer interested in hiding guns for their husbands.

Ms Nakiru said whenever there are any attacks in the kraal, it is the women and children who bear the brunt of the clashes. 

She added that before the forceful disarmament between 2003 and 2008, the women were custodians of guns and treasured the weapons as sources of wealth before the guns were turned on them.  

 “We realised that these guns do not discriminate when hired out for raid as it can be turned on you,” she said. 

Ms Betty Nakut, another woman under Itopoloi Peace Group in Napak District, said because of the peace they have enjoyed in the last 14 years when government disarmed the warriors, they are not ready to hide any gun in their homes.

Ms Nakut, who is among the 70 women that have volunteered to move across Karamoja with support from Mercy Corps Uganda, urged the women to come out and fight gun violence in the region.
She said Karamoja should be declared free of guns. 

“We are appealing to government to ensure we are protected from our husbands because we are now going to mount pressure on them to hand over the guns,” she said. 

Ms Monica Sagal, another woman from Sidok Sub-county in Kaabong District, said whenever Karamoja is insecure it is the women who suffer most. 

“We get raped by armed warriors in the bush while struggling to collect firewood to sell to feed our families, so we don’t want to see guns any more in Karamoja,” she said. 

The appeal for government protection follows the killing of women by husbands after they disclosed to the army where their husbands had kept guns recently.

Ms Stephany Namer, the chairperson of Women Peace Forum, said through the Ekisil programme supported by Mercy Corps, Karamoja women have realised that without their intervention, peace will never be realised. 

Ms Lily Naberei, a woman peace activist in Kaabong District, said they have been championing peace in communities, integrating the disarmed youth.  
Mr Michael Longole, the Karamoja regional police spokesperson, said women participation in the disarmament was very helpful. 

He said since the joint forces of police and army launched the third phase of disarmament in Karamoja in July, women have been secretly handing over guns kept by their husbands to police and army. 

 “The majority of guns that we have recovered from the Karimojong rustlers since we launched the exercise are brought by women yet previously they were custodians of guns,” he said.

 Mr Longole said from July 17, they have recovered 98 guns through voluntary disarmament in which 40 percent of the guns were handed over by women. He said the trend has changed and that women want peace and assured them of government protection. 

Source Daily Monitor.

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