A section of Turkana leaders have protested the shooting of seven Kenyan nationals by the Uganda Military.
Led by the Deputy Governor John Erus, the leaders further condemned Uganda Military for arresting 32 pastoralists and sending them to jail.
The leaders said to avoid a pending diplomatic war between the two countries, President William Ruto should move swiftly and secure the release of those jailed.
The protest come after a Ugandan military court sent to prison 32 Kenyans after they were allegedly found in possession of illegal firearms and ammunition in the northeastern sub-region of Karamoja.
According to an article by Xinhua, the Ugandan Military said the pastoralists were arrested in an operation on April 8, where 31 guns and 751 rounds of ammunition were recovered.
"They are subject to the ongoing disarmament operations in the Karamoja sub-region and national laws of the Republic of Uganda," said the statement.
The group was arraigned in the 3rd Division Military Court Martial based in Moroto District in the Northern region.
Xinhua's article indicates the 32 were convicted on two counts, illegal possession of firearms and illegal possession of ammunition, each carrying a sentence of 10 years. The convicts will serve their sentences consecutively.
According to Ugandan military law, any person found in possession of military weapons, equipment on ammunition is subjected to and tried by the court martial.
Northeastern Uganda is facing armed cattle rustling. The Ugandan military has currently been carrying out a disarmament operation to stem the practice.
But the leaders said such acts of humiliation against the Kenyan pastoralists are an affront to the efforts of East Africa integration.
The Deputy Goverrnor said those who had been shot and injured include six minors who are undergoing treatment at the Lodwar County Referral Hospital.
Their 48-year-old mother was among the victims of the shooting in Moroto.
“More than 40,000 Kenyan pastoralists have lived in Uganda their entire lifetime and have dual citizenship. It is disturbing that they have been attacked by Ugandan military and others jailed by court-martial,” the Deputy Governor said.
Turkwel MCA and Turkana County Assembly leader of majority Stephen Edukon condemned the jailing and the shooting saying such acts derail East Africa’s integration.
Stay informed. Subscribe to our newsletter
“It is sad that the same military that attacked the pastoralists is the same that determined their case and jailed them. Since when did the military prosecute civilian cases?” Edukon said.
The ward rep added, “We are asking President William Ruto to impose sanctions on Uganda until it releases the 32 jailed Kenyans. There have been talks between Uganda and Kenya allowing pastoralists to graze livestock in areas along the common border. It is unfortunate that Uganda is disregarding the peace pacts.”
Lokichar MCA Samuel Lomodo Lokaale claimed that only Turkana pastoralists were targetted in the security operation.
The leaders spoke as they received the injured minors and mother at the Lodwar County Referral Hospital.
Dr Anthony Gichuhi, a senior medical officer at the hospital, said the patients were stable.
He said the five minors sustained gunshot injuries on different parts of their bodies.
“We received a call from Moroto region hospital that we needed emergency evacuation of six casualties, and we rushed to bring them to Lodwar,” the medic said.