Story Publication logo April 14, 2011

Cordon And Search

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Uganda’s Karamoja region, home to tribes of cattle-herding, Kalashnikov-wielding nomads, has been...

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When the government of Uganda decided to disarm and pacify the fierce and unruly tribesman of Karamoja, it quicky realized that the police alone wouldn't be able to do the job. So it brought in the Ugandan People's Defense Force (UPDF) to conduct "cordon and search" operations. The aim was to confiscate illegal weapons and determine the rightful ownership of livestock in a region where cattle rustling is rife. The military used a heavy hand, effectively implementing martial law in the remote, underdeveloped region. Although the cordon and search operations have eased up and the security situation has improved, many Karamojong are still afraid of the soldiers and afraid to protest when their rights are violated. Critics say the UPDF is now using Karamoja as a training ground for new operational procedures and equipment, forgetting the fact that the Karamojong are citizens, not foreign "enemies."

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