Thursday May 8 2014

Protect Uganda from terrorists

The new travel safety measures covering buses crossing into Uganda are critical. The measures, though disruptive, are worth it to help avoid something even worse: a terrorist attack. Indeed, Ugandans must not take lightly twin warnings of imminent terrorist attacks on Kampala. The first Police guidelines are precautionary and follow several terrorists’ attacks in Kenya. The second, more specific by US Embassy, warns Americans to steer clear of worship places in Kampala. Ugandans too, must take caution.

Foremost, Uganda is a high-risk target as one of several countries contributing troops (Amisom) to Somalia. Indeed, rules of thumb must be expanded by the Uganda Police and applied to inland passenger service vehicles as well. It is only logical that taxis and buses plying the country’s roads are checked.
Second, terrorists take aim at soft targets. Ugandans, therefore, must exercise equal caution in public places; including crowd-puller sports grounds, parks, markets, and discotheques.

These warnings by Uganda Police and the US Embassy are credible since terror attacks on churches, schools, buses, and public squares have recurred in Kenya and Nigeria. Police offer to escort tourists on upcountry circuits is welcome. This safeguards the growing tourism industry, Uganda’s foreign exchange currency-spinner.

Certainly, measures to secure citizens from terrorists are critical so our national life is not disrupted. As American writer Dorothy Thompson once said, only when we are no longer afraid do we begin to live. Ugandans must be open-eyed to endure and block off recurrences of al-Shabaab terrorists assaults similar to the twin bombings at the Kyadondo Rugby Grounds and Ethiopian Village Restaurant in Kampala on July 11, 2011. Ugandans must not relive the disgraces the Allied Democratic Forces terrorists visited on the country in hangouts in Nateete, Kabalagala, Ange noir discotheque, Wandegeya, Owino market, and the Old Taxi Park in Kampala.

Nonetheless, the public and security agencies must keep off any form of community or religious profiling. Police must remain professional in investigations of reports of improvised explosive devices, religious preaching, and secret meetings targeting some youth and communities.
The public must stay wakeful.
We must safeguard Uganda from terrorists.