KARIMOJONG CHILDREN WITHDRAWN OFF KAMPALA STREETS

The Karimojong community in Uganda has withdrawn its children from Kampala streets. Majority of the children were deployed at major roundabouts and at traffic lights area for begging purposes, an act that has drawn criticism prompting government to embark on resettling the Karimojong in Kampala. In an interview with High Sound for Children, one of the elders identified as Kem Alopodok said that they decided to withdraw the children after several engagements with the government leaders and their representatives in Parliament. “Our MPs from Karamoja came and spoke to us and we understood and all children have been withdrawn from the field”. Mr. Alopodok said. He however accuses government of using excessive force in an operation to resettle women and children recently. “Police and members of the local defence unit stormed this area at 3am and forcefully took women and children. We have information that these have been taken back to Karamoja and put in camps. Our chairman Mr. Matany followed them and we wait for a full report”. A 24 years old who preferred anonymity told us. The Karimojong in this area say they are not opposed to going back home but questions on what they are going back to should be addressed. “Personally I left Karamoja when I was 12 years, am now 24 years, where do I start today if you throw me back to a camp? Let government first put in place a comprehensive resettlement plan and we shall go back home because we know this is not our place” He added. When contacted, the head of the police family protection unit, Ms Carol Kushemererwa said she had received rumours that there was an operation but the police was not part of it. “I have also heard about that story but we were not there, may be someone else conducted the operation”. She said. Meanwhile Kampala capital City Authority says plans are underway to resettle the Karimojong. “We have been in touch with their leaders and all stakeholders and a decision was reached to relocate them but we have not decided on the actual day”. The spokesperson of the authority said. The ministry of gender in Uganda requested for 3 billion shillings to resettle children on the streets and out of this one billion has been disbursed

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