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20.4.2021 : 8:31 : +0200

Security Provision and Small Arms in Karamoja


Karamoja, in the north-east of Uganda and one of the country’s least developed regions, has been plagued by decades-long inter-ethnic and intra-ethnic violence. The availability and use of small arms in the region has exacerbated the violence, and a climate of insecurity has hindered development. Various peace and security initiatives in the region aim to reduce the violence and improve security.

Security Provision and Small Arms in Karamoja: A Survey of Perceptions—a new Special Report by the Small Arms Survey and Danish Demining Group (DDG)—provides a deeper understanding of security provision in Karamoja and analyses the patterns of small arms supply to the region. In particular, the study considers the role of security and justice providers in promoting community safety, as well as the function of traditional security providers, and current data on the small arms situation.

The findings are primarily based on a household survey conducted in three districts, complemented by qualitative data gathered from focus group discussions, key informant interviews, and interviews with security providers.

The study finds:

  • Security has improved in recent years, and state security agencies have become more visible. While acts of violence such as cattle raids and shootings have decreased, the number of such incidents remains high.
  • Cattle raiding has changed in its nature from being a large-scale and traditionally sanctioned activity to one that is carried out on a smaller scale as an independent undertaking.
  • Small arms are still present and circulating in Karamoja despite the fact that access to these weapons in Uganda has become more difficult in recent years. They are sourced from Kenya and South Sudan, as well as from pilfered stocks from the armed forces and the remnants of weaponry left over from past armed conflicts.

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