Thursday, November 15, 2007

Karamoja's Militant Pastoralism

Under colonial rule and since independence, the Ugandan state flag has rarely flown over Karamoja, the remote and semi-arid northeastern region bordering Kenya and Sudan. Armed violence was first documented there among resident pastoralist tribes in the early 1900s. Muskets and rifles gradually replaced spears, bows and arrows. Violence spiked to new levels when automatic weapons flooded the area after Idi Amin’s local armories were abandoned in his 1979 flight from power. At the same time a regional arms market encompassing seven local nations saw escalating armament and munitions stockpiling among Karamoja’s disparate clans.

Read the rest of this article over at 3 Quarks Daily.

This curious inscription was found on the door of a hut behind the local bishop's house in Kotido.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Karamoja's amazing bird life

I've been in Uganda's remote and arid Karamoja region for the last few weeks looking at abuses against children by local warriors and in the government's forcible disarmament program. A fascinating context, but the real attraction has been the bird life!

Clockwise: African Hoopoe, Go-away Bird, Secretary Bird, Lilac-breasted Roller, and the Crowned Crane, Uganda's national symbol. These arent my photos but I have seen all these during my visit, plus many others. Birds dont scatter from gunfire, it seems.