The Territorial Police in KMP South and Katwe Division have arrested the promoter of a New Year concert at Freedom City Hall, that led to a stampede that has so far killed 10 concert goers. The incident happened on the 1.01.2022 at around 00.10hrs, at Freedom City in Namasuba where about 400 revellers and concert goers were celebrating the End of Year/New Year. The celebrations were progressing well, till that point where the Master of Ceremonies, recklessly made an announcement for the concert goers to move out and watch the fireworks display in the parking, and thereafter return to the concert.
The parked crowd of about 400 people became dangerous, after the rush for fireworks from the hall, through a narrow corridor, to the only exit/entry point, after the local security guards had locked all the other gates. As a result. several victims were trapped, others trampled upon through the narrow passage way which became areal bottleneck. The deceased persons include; Kibuuka Daniel, a 10 year old, male juvenile of Gangu “B”zone, Kibuuka Daniella, a 14 year old, female juvenile of Gangu “B” zone, Kizito Ibrahim, an 11 year old, male juvenile of Kyebando Erisa zone, Hakimati Nazima, a 13 year old, female juvenile of Kyebando – Erisa zone, Nakanwagi Viola, an 18 year old female adult of Watuba-Matugga, Namyalo Mary, a 30 year old hair dresser of Ndejje-Luga zone, Nakakande Hadijah, a 16 year old, female juvenile of Massajja “B” zone, Nakatumba Margret, a 29 year old, female adult of Kanyanya, Mwanje Safik and unidentified juvenile. This is a terrible tragedy and our deepest sympathies go to the families of the deceased persons. We also wish all the injured persons a speedy recovery.
The concert that was organised by a one Abby Musinguzi of Abitex was parked to capacity with performances from various artists. The premises were physically inspected by counter-terrorism officers for fireworks and the territorial police of Katwe for the concert. The organisers and their private security were in charge of the inner security, while the external security and perimeter, was manned by the police and other security personnel, due to the existing threat environment.
We have also established that the organisers put profits before the safety of revellers and concert goers, by using only one gate on the assumption, that other non-ticketed persons would take advantage and gain entry. We are also investigating circumstances under which young children between 10 – 17 years, gained entry into the venue. Usually, concerts and festivals require the concert goers to be 18 years and above, because they can legally make their own decisions. Juveniles between 13 -17 can only attend, if accompanied by an adult or responsible person.
A thorough police investigation by specialist teams from CID, Forensic, Counter Terrorism and Crime Intelligence continues to take place. Our areas of interest are the access and exit controls, the safety measures against crowd controls, disorders and stampedes, evacuation plans, paramedics and ambulances on site, number of stewards/ushers dedicated to the event and the number of people at the concert among others. All persons found culpable shall be brought to book.
We also want to use this opportunity to remind organisers and promoters of events, proprietors of venues, to always follow the police guidelines on the safe management of public and major events.
SCP Enanga Fred
2nd January 2023