Tracking key conflict and security dynamics in Karamoja - an update

People's Peacemaking Perspectives

This report focuses on Karamoja in north-eastern Uganda. The region has long experienced serious conflict and insecurity, severe poverty and low levels of development. Communities have been involved in cycles of cattle raiding and counter-raiding, including with border communities in Kenya and South Sudan.

The report finds that the Ugandan government’s assessment of improved security and successful disarmament in Karamoja does not seem to reflect the continued insecurity felt by communities and the fact that significant numbers of illegal weapons still remain in civilian hands. The report recommends that joint planning, and building trust with communities, is essential for a successful transition from the Uganda People’s Defence Force-led to police-led civilian disarmament. Furthermore, while trust in the police generally remains high, their limited presence in the region means that they often fail to effectively protect communities. Equipping and training the police will be crucial to ensure they can better serve communities throughout Karamoja.

Building on an in-depth conflict and security assessment from 2010, the report incorporates follow-up research carried out in the districts of Moroto and Napak in 2011-12. It is primarily a qualitative study, taking in the views and experiences of a range of actors including local people, security and law enforcement agencies, government officials and aid agencies. It emphasizes that local perceptions of safety and security need to guide decisions regarding civilian disarmament, security and development.

Click here to read the full report or the policy brief.

This research is part of the EU-funded People’s Peacemaking Perspectives project.

“Some people still think they are finished without the gun. They can’t imagine life without a gun. This means we need to talk to them and explain that giving up weapons is not the end of life.”

UPDF officer, Moroto, Uganda