Hundreds of Local Defence Personnel (LDP) have commenced a two-month acclimatization training at Labwordwong Training School in Agago district. They will later be deployed to combat the Karamojong cattle rustlers.
The LDPs are part of a group of 9,690 personnel selected from Kaweweta Recruit Training School in Nakaseke, Labwordwong Training School in Agago, and Olilim Training School in Karamoja. They were passed out by President Yoweri Museveni at Kaweweta Training School last month.
While welcoming the trainees at Labwordwong, Brig. Gen. Keith Katungi, the Commander of the 5th Infantry Battalion, emphasized their primary responsibility to protect the people of Uganda and their property in line with their constitutional mandate.
He reminded them to uphold the oath of allegiance they took at Kaweweta training school. “If you follow the oath of allegiance you took while being passed out at Kaweweta training school properly to the dot, it will help guide you throughout your military career,” he said.
While acknowledging the existing security challenges, Brig. Gen. Katungi noted that the LDPs were fortunate to join the force during a period of peace across Uganda’s borders, with no internal threats except for cattle raiders. “The country is peaceful but Africa as a continent is not peaceful, which is why UPDF has crossed borders to help other countries in the spirit of Pan-Africanism,” Katungi said.
He also cautioned the recruits against leading promiscuous lives, emphasizing the importance of maintaining good health and physical fitness. “It is only the healthy and physically fit who can defend their country and live longer to see the fruits of their sweat,” he said.
The deployment of the LDPs coincides with reports of increased raids by Karamojong cattle rustlers, who have expanded their activities to include rape, theft, and murder. Stephen Tumwesigye, the 5th Division PRO, stated that the recruitment of the LDPs aims to restore normalcy in the affected districts and combat the Karamojong menace.
He mentioned plans to recruit vigilantes in all sub-counties affected by the cattle raids, without disclosing specific numbers for security reasons.