The incident happened during the ground follow-up of the recently concluded airborne survey conducted by X-Calibur Airborne Geophysics Limited under the funding of Karamoja project. As you recall Karamoja region was left out during the SMMRP data collection project. Hence the need to design a Karamoja project whose main objective was to collect geoscientific data from areas of Karamoja to establish the mineral potential of Karamoja region.
The geochemical survey exercise was being undertaken by sixteen geologists, forty (40) security officers, liaison officers and casual laborers split into 8 groups. Some teams were deployed in Nakapiripirit District while others were deployed in Moroto District. Sadly one of the groups deployed in Moroto couldn’t make it back because they fell into an ambush of cattle rustlers leaving 5 of them dead. According to the survivor, who was the translator, efforts to explain to the killers the purpose of the team in Karamoja were futile as they the gunmen proceeded to shoot leaving everyone dispersed and some killed. Other people who were killed included; Ms. Edna Musiime, a geology student from Makerere University, Mr. Charles Olweny and two UPDF soldiers who were body guarding the group
It is unfortunate because the incident didn’t only create trauma among other team members and all other staff, but also it has affected the project work which has now come to a standstill till further notice.
Geological fieldwork involves some level of risk, which can be reduced by complete sensitization of local communities. However, the Karamojong being nomads, it’s a bit hard to find them settled in one area to sensitize them about our work in their regions. Especially now when there is ongoing disarmament in the region. Hence most of them are not aware of geological investigations done by DGSM countrywide.
Our heartfelt condolences and prayers go out to the families of the deceased and we pray that the culprits of the brutal actions are brought to book.