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Turkana County apologises after death of 3 Ugandans

Three Ugandans were killed near the Kenya-Uganda border

Kenyan officials handing back a UPDF gun to the Ugandan delegation. URN photo

Lokiriama Deputy County Commissioner, Yacob Tirop has apologised on behalf of Turkana County over the recent murder of three Ugandan geologists in Moroto next to the Kenya-Uganda border by suspected Turkana pastoralists.

After the killing, a joint security force comprising Uganda Police and Uganda People's Defence Force (UPDF) flashed Turkana pastoralists from Kobebe grazing area in Uganda back to Kenya.

“If it was not for Uganda, Turkana cows would have got finished and that’s why we’re pleading with Uganda to please allow the Turkana to return and graze their livestock in Karamoja,” the deputy stated.

Three officials, including one of Uganda’s top geologists, and their two military escorts were on March 21 killed in a remote, mineral-rich region bordering South Sudan and Kenya.

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They came under attack during a mineral mapping exercise in Karamoja, an impoverished and volatile region in the Uganda's northeast.

Richard Kiggwwe, the lead geologist and his colleague, Charles Olweny – both from the mineral and energy ministry — had travelled 490 kilometres from the capital Kampala to Moroto District alongside an intern identified as Edna Musiime from Makerere University.

Their translator reportedly tried to explain to the armed warriors about their mission in the area but the warriors, probably out of lack of information opened fire, killing all the five in cold blood. The translator escaped with an injury on the stomach.

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Brigadier Joseph Balikudembe responding to Tirop said Kenya had not fulfilled its promises hence the blockade between the two countries will continue.

“We can’t answer your request right now for the Turkana to come back to Uganda because first of all, you have only handed over to us the guns that the Turkana took from our soldiers after killing them," said Balikudembe.

He added: "You have not handed us the guns that they used for killing our soldiers and suspects. Even one of our guns had 120 ammunition but you have handed us an empty magazine where are the bullets?”

Ugandan Security operatives revealed 20 people were rounded up in a one-week operation in Lokisilei, Kobebe dam and parts of Naput in Lotisan Sub County following the attack.

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Security operatives also recovered eight guns, three rounds of ammunition and one police uniform during the operation.

However, the two guns stolen from the military escorts who were killed alongside the geologists are yet to be recovered.

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