As you are all aware, we have entered the crucial week, of the Uganda Martyrs Day Celebrations, that will take place on the 3.06.2023. Millions of pilgrims, well-wishers and faith-based tourists are expected to gather at the Catholic Shrine in Namugongo, the Anglican Shrine at Nakiyanja, Mamre Prayer Centre and the Muslim Shrine at Namugongo. Although the majority of the pilgrims walk the journey of a life time for spiritual reasons, there are other well-wishers who come for recreational, physical, cultural and touristic reasons. According to the respective organizers, over 3000 pilgrims have safely arrived.
Even this year, celebrations come amidst a threat environment. As seen in the past and across the globe, attacks can happen anytime and any place without warning. At this stage, there are no credible threats directed towards the Martyrs Day Celebration. However, we do call upon all pilgrims, well-wishers and faith-based tourists, to remain vigilant and extra alert while at any of the venues. We encourage everyone to carry their ID, or other identification document, keep an eye on their personal belongings like wallets, mobile phones, be wary of strangers, avoid leaving elders or children alone, inform family and friends about where they are etc.
In addition, we urge pilgrims to be aware of their physical health and condition, by avoiding risks like subjecting themselves to hunger, thirst, standing for long hours, congestion and perseverance. In case of any signs of weakness, seek for medical attention. To avoid food poisoning, pilgrims are urged to avoid under cooked or food kept outside for long hours in unsafe conditions.
It’ also important for the pilgrims and well-wishers, to strictly follow the rules and protocols at the venue, like taking care of the common facilities, milestones signs, information panel and respect the pathway rules. The residents in Namugongo and Nakiyanja are encouraged to anticipate large numbers of pilgrims, as well as disruptions in the traffic flow, especially on the 2nd – 3rd of June, 2023. We urge them to make adjustments in their movements and other daily routines.
Our level of preparedness remains very robust, with task teams camped at all the venues. We have fully mapped out the area, for hotspots and other high-risk targets, and put up tactical response teams, in place. In addition, our cyber and ICT teams have installed CCTV cameras and deployed unmanned aerial vehicles to monitor the conduct and movements of pilgrims. The Police Airwing and UPDF will jointly conduct aerial surveillance, to watch the movements of pilgrims and any suspicious behavior. All in all, the security posture is advanced and multi-layered.
As a security precaution, the following items will be prohibited from entry into the venues; aerosols, ammunitions, animals other than police K9, back packs exceeding size restrictions, bicycles, balloons, UAVs like drones other than for security, firearms, glass thermos, metallic containers, pepper, spray and any other items determined to be a potential hazard, to the public event.
Once again, we would like to assure the public that we are determined, committed, and will ensure a very successful religious pilgrimage at all venues, is delivered. For any emergency, please call the nearest police unit or our National Operations Command Centre on 0800199699, 0707600773 or 0776999136
SCP Enanga Fred
29th May 2023