KAMPALA, Uganda (eTN) – As witnessed in recent days across the city, Ugandan security organizations have been seconded to Kampala’s leading hotels, malls, high rises, and even buildings under construction near “sensitive sites,” also confirmed late yesterday from a top cop in Uganda, who on condition of strict anonymity said to this correspondent:
“You know that since our boys went into Somalia for the AU and the UN, we have been threatened by Al Shabab. They bombed us on the evening of the World Cup final, and even while we got the culprits and they are in court or already sentenced, the threat remains. Kenya has joined in our fight in Somalia and you know, in fact you always write the moment something happens. I read you so I know.
“We have been given intelligence reports that Al Shabab is planning something dramatic, and we will not wait for something to happen. This is a big year for Uganda. We are turning 50 as a nation, and tourism is flourishing, trade is developing, and our oil industry will bring new chances for investors. So we must protect our people, our visitors, our sites.
“We have not taken over security as such in hotels but are now complementing what they have at Serena, Sheraton, Munyonyo, and so forth. The hotel security is boosted by our own boys now who are armed and well trained to monitor and do surveillance in the interest of increased security. You ask your friends at those hotels, they still have their own security, of course, external and internal, but we now work much more closely. I know some will talk of police state and such rubbish, but at least you know that this is not true.
“We will boost our CCTV capacity also in key places, and when we are now deploying in hotels, this is for security, not what some of the press always insinuate like shadowing opposition or spy on someone. Our presence makes the hotels and malls safer. We can never guarantee total safety, but our people will play their role to extend the best possible protection for Ugandans and our visitors. You tell them that.”
Of late, several internationally-wanted terrorists were reported to have crossed into Uganda in a clandestine manner, and a manhunt is underway. The “Martyr’s Day Celebrations” last Sunday went peaceful as the largest number of pilgrims in years made their way to the Namugongo Shrine, and tight security was in place with far in advance of the venue screening of vehicles and pedestrians, letting the event pass without incident.