News / Africa

Uganda Increases Vigilance after US Embassy Security Alert

Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni, November 30, 2012.
Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni, November 30, 2012.
Peter Clottey
Uganda’s government spokesman says the US embassy has shared intelligence with the administration warning of a possible terrorist attack, similar to the one on Kenya’s Westgate mall nearly a month ago. 

In response, Ofwono Opondo says President Yoweri Museveni’s government has placed all security agencies on high alert.

“We have [taken] extra security measures. We have deployed both covert and overt personnel in major busy areas of the government and business districts of just not Kampala, but [also] around the country,” said Opondo. “We are sending out alerts calling on the public to be vigilant -- particularly proprietors of premises that are frequently visited by many people.”

The US embassy warning comes nearly a month after militants stormed Kenya’s Westgate Shopping, leaving at least 67 people dead and scores injured. The hard line Somali insurgent group, al-Shabab, claimed responsibility for the attack.

Opondo says senior security officials have reviewed measures to ensure adequate preparedness to thwart any attacks. He says security has been increased in public transportation stations that could be “soft targets” for terrorists.

“At the main entrances to the public passenger terminals of taxis and buses, there are extra checks of persons, luggage and vehicles,” said Opondo. “We are advising everybody to cooperate with the security measures that have been put in place, so that there is no there is no lapse whatsoever.”

He says the government has launched a media campaign asking the public to be on alert and to contact security officials of any suspicious activities.

“We are making regular radio announcements asking people to be vigilant, particularly if they see suspicious persons or suspicious items [and] to dial the hotlines of the Uganda police force and other security services that are available in their areas of location,” said Opondo.

Al-Shabab has already claimed responsibility for an attack during the 2010 World Cup in Uganda.  The group said it was in response to the country’s military support for AMISOM, the African Union forces in Somalia. Opondo says Uganda will not pullout its troops out of the east African nation despite threats from al-Shabab.

He says security agencies have been able to prevent attempted attacks by the Somali armed group since 2010.

 “We think that the reason they have not succeeded in the recent past is because of the vigilance. The security system has been vigilant, but we must call on the general public to be extra vigilant, because without them there will always be a lapse,” said Opondo.

Critics say the security agencies cannot be trusted since they were not able to prevent the 2010 terrorist attack. Opondo admitted lapses in security in the run up to the attack, but adds that it has improved.

“The attack happened because generally the country had lowered its guard. There were no strict checks in public places at the time. We think because of that and the most recent happening in Kenya, we are calling upon the proprietors of public places and the security personnel they deploy to be extra vigilant,” said Opondo.

Opondo called for international support for the African Union troops to help defeat the Somali terrorist group.

“We are at war with al-Shabab, and we must roll back al-Shabab until they are uprooted and until they have no safe haven anywhere in Somalia or in the Democratic Republic of Congo,” said Opondo. “The government of Uganda has no intention whatsoever of withdrawing from its engagement with AMISOM in Somalia. So, if the motive of this blackmail is that we withdraw from Somalia, we shall not.”
Clottey interview with Ofwono Opondo, Uganda government spokesman
Clottey interview with Ofwono Opondo, Uganda government spokesmani
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

You May Like

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid