309 people were killed by Uganda’s military in an eight-month-old operation against cattle rustling in a northeast region rich in minerals including gold, limestone and potentially oil, the armed forces said.
The deaths resulted from a push to quell violence by cattle rustlers in Karamoja region since last July, the Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF), the east African country’s military said.
Karamoja is inhabited by nomadic pastoralists.
“The UPDF, working with other sister security agencies … will continue working together to completely pacify Karamoja and end all the criminality in the sub-region,” it said in a statement late on Tuesday.
It termed those killed as “warriors”, without elaborating.
In a tweet on Wednesday, President Yoweri Museveni’s son, Muhoozi Kainerugaba, a commander of UPDF land forces, said they had probably killed more people than the number the UPDF gave in the statement.
“We have killed a lot more cattle thieves since last year. And we shall continue eliminating them until they completely lose the appetite for this industry,” Kainerugaba said in a tweet, in which he was responding to a local newspaper report about the 309 deaths.
184 guns have been recovered by the UPDF and 1,700 people arrested.