The Minister of State for Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, Honourable Martin Mugarra Bahinduka commended the 3 Division of Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) for conducting an operation and flashing out armed pastoralists from Pian-Upe Game Reserve in Nakapiripirit District, Karamoja Sub-region.
“I commend the leadership of UPDF 3 Division and troops for the operational support extended to Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) to restore sanity and calm in the game reserve. My appeal is that such support should not stop as we still count on the UPDF,” said Hon. Bahinduka.
The Minister made the remarks during his visit to Mount Elgon Conservation Area (MECA) and Kidepo National Valley Game Park in Greater Eastern Uganda on 21 July, 2023 where he met and interacted with UPDF commanders, UWA officials and key stakeholders.
In Early July, armed pastoralists sneaked into the Pian-Upe Game Reserve to graze cattle but ended up committing criminal acts which threatened both humans and wildlife.
“The criminal elements had dominated an area (7KM) East of reserve, used it as their hideouts and springboards to cause criminality in Nakapiripirit and neighbouring Districts. By 21 Jul 2023, they were flashed out with no resistance,” said Brig Gen Felix Busizoori, the Deputy Division Commander.
Brig Gen Busizoori reiterated that such a similar operation alongside cordon and search will continue to be conducted in order to maintain relative calm and peace for sectors to thrive in the subregion.
In May 2023, a similar operation against criminal elements and poachers was conducted in Karua general area under Kidepo National Game Park, Karenga district and led to the forceful recovery of one firearm.
Mr. Samuel Amanya, the Chief Warden for MECA appealed to the respective districts and line ministry to open up and improve road networks and other key infrastructures across conservation areas to enhance mobility and social service delivery.
Pian-Upe Game Reserve covers approximately an area of about 2.043 sq km of land size in nine districts and stretches from Kadam Hill in the East to Lake Opeta to the West.