- Turkana Governor Jeremiah Lomorukai has called the national government to bring Turkana pastoralists in Uganda back to Kenya.
- 32 residents of Orum, Loima. were arrested in Uganda and sentenced to 20 years in prison after being convicted of having illegal firearms and ammunition.
Governor Jeremiah Lomorukai has urged the state to help bring back 32 Turkana pastoralists who moved into Uganda but were imprisoned for 20 years on weapons charges.
Turkana leaders said to avoid a diplomatic war, President William Ruto should move swiftly and secure the release of those jailed.
Drought pushed more than 30,000 pastoralists from Turkana to Uganda in search of water and pastures for domestic use and livestock.
Lomorukai's remarks come after 32 residents of Orum in Loima subcounty were arrested on April 8 in Uganda and sentenced to prison after being found in possession of illegal firearms and ammunition.
He alleged the Turkana residents living in Uganda were lured by Uganda People’s Defence Forces and police and later tried in a court martial and jailed.
"There's no such success of disarmament that has been done, our people were lured. They were called by UPDF and told they were unable to give them enough security. They were asked to go back and bring the firearms and help them to beef up security,” the governor said.
“Even when the rains started, they were told to wait. There is a senior government officer from Turkana coming to see how they graze and that's how they were shot at and injured,” he said.
He deplored that for many years Turkana residents have suffered in Uganda, they have lost livestock worth millions of shillings and hundreds of lives have been lost by Turkanas grazing their animals n Uganda.
“Currently we have experienced rains, we have enough pastures, our people should come back and utilise our land instead of suffering in Uganda,” he said.
Lomorukai deplored that he has met government officials in Uganda for peace talks but the results led to his people being tried in courts martial and jailed.
“I want to appeal to the government to bring back our people, we need to look for the resources to bring back our people and settle them,” he said.
He has urged the government to invest in water by constructing big dams in Turkana for domestic use and to sustain the livestock.
The 32 Turkana residents were arrested on April 8 at Nadunget, 50 kilometres from Moroto during an operation by the Uganda People’s Defence Forces and police.
That joint operation in Lokiriaut, Nadunget subcounty in Moroto, led to the arrest of 129 suspects on April 8.
Three days later, 32 Kenyans out of the 129 who were arrested were sentenced to 20 years in prison after being found guilty of being in possession of illegal firearms and ammunition.
Reports indicate they were convicted on their own pleas of guilty in a court session presided over by the 3rd Division Court Martial chairman, Colonel Bernard Tuhame.
The convicts, all from Orum, Loima constituency in Turkana, were allegedly found in possession of 31 guns, 752 rounds of ammunition, 19 bows and arrows.
The operation took place about 50 kilometres from Moroto Town last Saturday.
A group of Turkana leaders protested the alleged shooting of seven Kenyan nationals by the Uganda Military.
Led by the Deputy Governor John Erus, the Turkana leaders further condemned the Uganda Military for arresting 32 pastoralists and sending them to jail.
(Edited by V. Graham)