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Uganda Tightens Security Ahead of Christmas, New Year Holidays

  • Peter Clottey

Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni, November 30, 2012.
Police have intensified security in Uganda’s capital, Kampala, and at key installations, following intelligence reports of a plot by terrorists to attack the city during the Christmas holidays, says Kampala police spokesman, Ibin Ssenkunbi.

Ssenkunbi says the police have launched a campaign on radio, television and other social media platforms to ensure citizens pay attention to their surroundings and alert officials about any suspicious activities.

“We have improved our deployment and increased our activities both covert and overt as a result of the festive season. We are all aware that we have a threat of terrorism, which tends to go high when it comes to certain days like today up to the 2nd [January],” said Ssenkunbi. “So we have heightened patrols in the city center as well as taking over security at vital national installations.”

Police warnings say that terrorists are planning to attack police stations with the aim of obtaining weapons.

“Police have received information of plans by some terror groups to attack police stations and security installations in Kampala and other parts of the country, with the view of securing some weapons to be used to terrorize, cause panic and confusion during this festive season,” read a statement from Judith Nabakooba, police spokesperson.

Ssenkunbi says that the police have heightened security, with visible foot and motorized patrols in key areas that could be targeted by terrorists. He says police are warning citizens not to drop their guard during the holiday festivities.

We know that it has been the characteristic of terrorists to always take advantage of [the] excitement and lapses in security details to cause damage to people,” said Ssenkunbi.

“So we are very alert to make sure that they don’t disrupt and take the excitement of people during the festive season to cause damage to us.”

Ssenkunbi says authorities are relying on their public information campaign to alert citizens to the potential threat, but Ugandans should be confident that authorities are capable of dealing with any situation.

“We have been sensitizing people radios and even all the available media [platforms] to be cautious,” said Ssenkunbi. “Any activity at any point when we realize it [will] put people’s lives at risk due to the terror threat we shall not hesitate to stop it.”