years the Ugandan government has had a "weapons turn-in" program in the
Karamoja tribal region (northeastern Uganda). The Karamoja are cattle herders who
occasionally engage in smuggling and raiding. Many tribal warriors acquired
cheap automatic weapons, which made their raids a lot more deadly than when all
that was used was spears and bows.. Uganda's program has had mixed successes,
mainly because the government did not keep pace with the rising price of
weapons. As recently as three years ago an AK-47 sold for around $200, which is
a lot of money in that part of Africa. Now AK-47s sell for between $500 and
$600. So the government will offer more money for weapons. Meanwhile, the guys
with guns have turned their attention from rustling to hijacking, and
convoys carrying food are being ambushed with greater frequency. The
region has been suffering from a drought and more and more people are depending
on outside food aid. Food is always a useful commodity, but in an area
afflicted by starvation it is a precious commodity. This could be an indication
of even more trouble in northeastern Uganda.
June 8, 2007: Due to pressure
from the business community, the government is considering opening an embassy
in Somalia. Trade and business development are two major reasons.
June 5, 2007: The LRA will
have an additional three weeks to move its fighters to the Ri-Kwangba assembly
area in Sudan, and the LRA had agreed to make the move. Meanwhile,
Sudanese reports of LRA rebels marauding in south Sudan continue to crop up.
The South Sudan government wants the Ugandan war settled so that it can get on
with its own developmental programs.
June 1, 2007: Many Ugandans are
wondering why other African Union states have failed to deploy peacekeepers in
Somalia. Early on, Burundi and Nigeria promised to send troops; Ghana and
Malawi later said they would send contingents. The mission's high degree of
difficulty may be one reason; the nations may not want to get into street
fighting in Mogadishu. Some Ugandans are speculating that Uganda should have
coordinated with other African nations before quickly committing to send
troops. The number of disgruntled voices in Uganda is increasing. Opposition
parties are describing the Ugandan deployment as "another Iraq."