Source: Daily Monitor
The Uganda Peoples Defence Forces has given the people of northern Uganda one month to surrender illegal firearms in their possession.
Civilians are expected to hand over illegal arms to authorities for forwarding to police stations.
Regional Police Commander Martin Amoru said with civilians still in possession of illegal arms in the region, conflicts, especially land wrangles are fought using guns.
“We receive many cases of illegal possession of firearms, which are being misused in escalating crime in the region,” said Mr Amoru.
According to statistics from Gulu Central Police, at least five cases of illegal possession have been reported this year, with at least two murders by shooting reported.
The UPDF 4th Division Commander, Col. Innocent Oula, last week said after more than two decades of insurgency in the region, illegal arms are in circulation and in the hands of many civilians.
Bill in offing
He said guns were given by the military officials for protection at the peak of the insurgency, some are owned by former combatants and military deserters, while others were acquired by civilians through gun trafficking at the borders.
“Now that there’s peace, our priority is to get the guns back from the hands of the civilians despite how they acquired them,” said Col. Oula. He said with successful disarmament, the army will have track records of the number of guns and military equipment in the region.
The exercise follows government’s plans to draft a Bill to regulate firearms held by security agencies and civilians to harmonise existing laws governing possession of guns, including the Firearms Act 1970.
After the expiry of the ultimatum, the army will forcibly disarm civilians as it is doing in Karamoja.