Kampala, Uganda | By Michael Wandati | Security officials have raised alarm over the apparent lack of vigilance among Ugandans in response to existing terror threats.
A joint inspection conducted by the police and military at crowded areas revealed a significant number of people going about their daily activities without taking necessary precautions, thereby compromising their own safety.
Brigadier General William Bainomugisha, commander of the military police, and Steven Tanui, the Kampala metropolitan police commander, recently conducted patrols across different parts of the city. Their objective was to raise public awareness about the dangers of terrorism and to direct security operations aimed at preventing extremist acts.
These patrols were prompted by a terror alert issued by the United Kingdom (UK). However, police spokesperson Fred Enanga has noted a concerning lack of concern among many Ugandans regarding the terror threat.
Despite the alert, individuals continue to frequent shopping malls, arcades, markets, and schools seemingly oblivious to potential risks. Even leisure establishments, clubs, and bars have not significantly increased security measures as anticipated.
Prior to the Mpondwe-Lhubiriha secondary school terror attack, which was attributed to the rebel group Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), the US issued a terror alert. Tragically, the incident occurred four days later, claiming the lives of over 40 individuals, including students and adults.
In October and November 2021, Kampala experienced four terror incidents resulting in the deaths of nine people, including three suspected suicide bombers. These incidents occurred shortly after the UK issued a terror alert.
In response to these threats, security forces have made significant arrests in Kisege village, Ntoroko district, detaining 34 suspected terrorists. Local community members alerted the authorities after spotting suspicious individuals hiding in bushes. Prompt action by the security forces led to the apprehension of the suspects.
“The fight against ADF is ongoing, and our forces in Ntoroko conducted a successful cordon and search operation in Kisege village. We arrested 34 individuals who were unknown to the local community. We received intelligence regarding suspected ADF members hiding in Kisege. We are intensifying our foot and motorized patrols,” stated Enanga.
Reports indicate that ADF terrorists are exploiting porous borders in districts such as Kasese, Kibaale, Ntoroko, and Kabalore. Residents in areas like Kisege, Nyabweya, and Muhwezi villages have been vigilant in reporting suspicious individuals, leading to further arrests.
“The UPDF [Uganda People’s Defense Forces] successfully neutralized one of the most wanted ADF commanders, Lubangakene, along with three of his associates. In this operation, the UPDF recovered two firearms. It is noteworthy that Lubangakene was a notorious terrorist involved in numerous atrocities against children in both the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda,” revealed Enanga.