KAMPALA – The Ugandan government on Wednesday said the country is safe for tourists, despite last week’ s riots that left 15 people dead, scores injured and property destroyed.
Serapio Rukundo, minister of state for tourism, told reporters here that the security situation in the East African country is under control.
“Uganda is absolutely safe. We are one of the safest countries in the world. What happened was just lack of dialogues,” he said.
Rukundo’s comments came after some foreign missions issued travel advisories requesting their nationals not to travel to the country and those within the country to stay indoors.
Moses Mapesa, executive director of Uganda Wildlife Authority, said riots happened all over the world and has not stopped tourists from visiting the affected destinations. He said what is critical is the country’s capacity to contain the riots.
“Uganda is a safe country to visit, we have infrastructure, we have capacity and we have the attractions,” he said.
Rukundo, however, admitted that last week’s three-day riots in and around the capital Kampala dented the country’s image internationally.
“It is going to take us time to repair. I pray we don’t have another riot, I pray each part of Uganda remains totally safe,” he said, noting that some tourists lost their property during the unrest.
The riots were sparked off after the government stopped the King of Buganda, Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II from visiting one of his counties in northeast Uganda.
The government said it could not guarantee the king’s safety as another cultural leader claimed ownership of the area.
Tourism is one of Uganda’s major foreign exchange earners. Currently, the country earns about 600 million U.S. dollars annually from the sector.