As we join our brothers and sisters in Kenya to mourn the tragic loss of life as well as the injured in the Westgate Mall terror attack in Nairobi by the Al Shabab terrorists, we remind the general public that Uganda remains high on the list of targets of the Al Shabab and other terror groups.
In view of this threat in our region, and as we monitor to detect any signals of possible planned terror attack on Uganda,the Police and the other security forces are taking extra security measures, including increased patrols, intensification of access control at public places, as well as checks on vehicles along key roads and highways.
However, as we have told you before, efforts of security agencies alone are not enough. To fight terrorism requires combining the vigilance of security agencies with popular vigilance, i.e. the vigilance of each and every member of the public. I wish to single out crime preventers, i.e. volunteers all over the country who have continued to support the Police in all ways. We call upon you to join our efforts once again to prevent and deter the plans of these evil forces.
Further, we remind members of the public on the following:
1. Individual security Consciousness. As you move about be conscious of your surroundings at all times. Take interest in what goes on in your neighborhoods. Be suspicious even of your shadow. Look out for astrange and suspicious looking person in the neighbourhood, demand for his/her identity. Examine his/her behavior and detect any sign of panic, the way he/she speaks, how he/she is dressed (for instance, if he/she is putting on heavy overcoat when its not cold weather). If you notice anything suspicious or strange, inform any LC official or the nearest police post and/or any security officer in the vicinity.
2. Look out for suspicious or abandoned items or packages e.g. bags, cars, boxes, unexpected gifts, flowers, flasks, mails and parcels, abandoned suitcases, dust bins, electronics, i.e. radios watches, cameras, mobile phones, television etc and any other items with loose wires attached, and immediately inform any LC official, or the nearest police post, and/or any security officer in the vicinity.
2. Premises security. We must increase security and safety in all places patronized by members of the public in big numbers especially the following:
- Shopping Malls and major supermarkets
- Major Hotels, and other places of entertainment
- Major markets
- Bus terminals
- Taxi parks
- Universities, colleges and schools
- Busy City suburbs, and other towns.
- Public buildings
- Mosques and churches during prayers
We call upon proprietors of such premises to have a deep of sense of responsibility, and cooperate with the Police, and the other security agencies to implement counter terror measures we plan to institute (together with them) in their respective places.
3. In particular, on access control to buildings/venues/events: First, there should be capable guards (who are alert, 24/7) at gates or all entry points to check everybody accessing the premises. Secondly, there should be Metal detectors, dogs (if possible) at all entrance points to detect possible intrusion of explosive materials e.g. bombs. Thirdly, security lights, alarms, etc, should, if they have not been placed along non-porous perimeter fences, be installed. Hotels, malls, supermarkets, markets such as kikubo, public buildings with underground parking should put in place additional guards/other security measures.
4. In particular, proprietors should ensure that premises are kept neat and clean. All rubbish containers, excessive stock and equipment should be disposed off. This will decrease the possibility of bomb shelters.
5. Educational institutions should implement the basic standards for safety and security provided to them by the Ministry of Education. In particular, they should at all times ensure that visitors to the premises are properly searched and entrances manned by trained security guards on a 24-hour basis.
6. Bus and taxi owners and operators, working with Police and the other security services, should put in place enhanced access control, and internal security measures in the parks. Vehicles should be subjected to checks before entry into any premises and/or parking yards. Metal detectors should be carried in buses and taxis to check passengers and luggage that board enroute.
7. We strongly urge all organizers of public events such as parties, concerts, open air public prayers, sports and social gatherings to involve the Police in the early stages of planning and preparations of the events to ensure security and safety.
There is no doubt that when we work together, (as am confident we shall), in implementing the above measures, the terrorists will fail to find soft targets (which is what they always seek) to target innocent people like they did in the Westgate Mall terror attack or the 7/11 suicide bombing in Kampala in 2010.
General Kale Kayihura
Inspector General of Police