By Our Reporter
The Uganda joint security forces have released and handed over Turkana suspects to the Turkana County Government of the Republic of Kenya.
The exercise was done at Moroto army barracks on Monday, 6th March,2023 where Uganda’s security side was led by Brig Gen Felix Busizoori, 3 Division deputy commander of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF).
Brig Gen Felix Busizoori handed over the six (6) suspects to his counterpart, Mr. Peter Eripete County Secretary and head of public service, Turkana County Government in the Republic of Kenya.
The Turkana suspects were arrested alongside their kinship, the native Matheniko in different cordon and search operations where they were engaged in cattle rustling in Karamoja Sub-region between 20th Feb to 26 Feb 2023.
“Following recent persistent security and diplomatic engagements between Ugandan and Kenyan authorities, we officially hand over six suspects in the gesture of EAC partnership as a sign of peaceful co-existence and brotherhood,” remarked Brig Gen Busizoori.
He urged the Turkana County Government to penalize the suspects for abusing the peaceful co-existence and cross-border security arrangements. “This diplomatic pardon should not be taken for granted as it may lead to impunity. Those who again be violating Ugandan laws will be arrested, arraigned before courts and charged of their offenses,” Brig Gen Busizoori warned.
He noted that the native eight (8) Matheniko who were arrested alongside the Turkana will be subjected to Uganda’s Courts of law.
Speaking on the same occasion, on his part, Mr. Peter Eripete expressed gratitude for Ugandan authorities. “I thank the President of the Republic of Uganda, the people and joint security commanders for according Turkana pastoralists another chance to graze their animals in Ugandan territory.”
He noted that officials on either side of the border of the two sister countries continue to work together to find ending solutions on how best the Turkana pastoralists can live in harmony with their host communities in Uganda. “I categorically, state that we are not allowing anybody to come and cause criminality in the host country, adding that once criminality is caused on whichever side of the border, that suspect is subjected to host country’s laws,” said Mr. Eripete
Present were: Brigade Commanders, Mr. Lomodo Tulele, Turkana County Legal Officer, Maj Abdullah Kalicha, Kenya Liaison Officer to Uganda and senior officers.
The Karamojong and Turkana pastoralists have co-existed and shared water and pasture in the grazing belts in Uganda as guided and spelt out in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the two sister EAC countries.
However, some armed Turkana elements have continued to violate the much-desired MoU since they engage themselves in criminal and rustling activities in Uganda. These continued violations among others are the reason why both Ugandan and Kenyan authorities meet to discuss, implement and expedite security measures for peaceful co-existence and brotherhood in order to foster socio-economic transformation and development within neighboring pastoralist communities of EAC.