Police issue new anti-terror rules

Passengers board a bus in Kampala recently. The new police guidelines on terrorism will now see all goods and passengers checked thoroughly before being allowed to board the buses. PHOTO BY RACHEL MABALA

What you need to know:

Tough. New guidelines will now see all goods aboard the buses offloaded and checked thoroughly before the buses are allowed to cross into Uganda.

Police have issued new guidelines for passengers aboard buses entering Uganda at all border points in the wake of terrorist attacks in Kenya. Likewise, there are new rules for tourists coming to Uganda.

The new guidelines announced by police spokesperson Fred Enanga yesterday will now see all goods aboard the buses offloaded and checked thoroughly before the buses are allowed to cross into Uganda.

The passengers will also undergo exhaustive body searches before being given entrance into the country. Previously, passengers only alighted from the buses to clear with immigration at border points before resuming their seats. Luggage was not a subject of inspection.

New measures explained
Explaining the new measures, Mr Enanga said: “Whatever happens to Kenya directly affects our economy, especially trade and tourism. Mombasa which has been attacked several times is the main route that links us to the sea. We are aware that the group that attacked Kenya is interested in inflicting pain on us too.”

Besides the checks, the buses will also be escorted by the police from the border points to Kampala, said Mr Enanga.

The police already have a similar arrangement with fuel tankers that began in March following related terrorist threats. Police said they had information that terrorists intended to blow up the tanks once they got to crowded areas.

“Escorting buses operating in Uganda will help us ensure that passengers are searched and no explosives are brought on the board,” he said.
Mr Enanga said for buses travelling to Nairobi, an agreement had been reached with Kenyan authorities to pick up the security back-up once they move out of Uganda.

As for tourists, according to Mr Enanga, they are expected to report to the Tourism Police desk, who will determine whether they should be assigned extra security while in the country.

Measures for tourists
The decision, he said, would depend on what parts of the country the tourists intend to visit. Tourism police headquarters are in Naguru but the unit has a desk at each tourism site in the country.

The new guidelines come days after suspected terrorists planted bombs on two buses in Nairobi, Kenya, killing at least two people and wounding 50 others. The Sunday attacks came just a day after two attacks in the coastal city of Mombasa left four people dead.

Terrorists have stepped up attacks in Kenya following the country’s decision to deploy its troops in war-torn Somalia. Uganda was the first to deploy troops under the African Union Mission—Amisom.

The latest case on terrorism
Last week, the police arrested and are still holding Dr Ismail Kalule, a Muslim cleric, whom they accuse of planning terrorist attacks in Kampala.
According to the police, Dr Kalule, a resident of Kiwatule, a city suburb, was in possession of literature, most of it in Arabic, on how to manufacture explosives.

Dr Kalule was one of the suspects arrested after the twin World Cup bombings in Kampala in 2010 that left about 80 people dead and hundreds injured. Court, however, set him free after the state failed to adduce evidence to pin him.