What you need to know:
- Among the directives is a ban on parking of vehicles and other automobiles near police stations and other security installations.
Police have tightened security within metropolitan Kampala following twin terrorist bombings in the capital last Tuesday.
The blasts killed seven people, three of them identified posthumously by law enforcement as suicide bombers, and injured dozens, among them 27 police officers.
The attackers detonated improvised explosive devices (IEDs) at the Central Police Station Kampala, near State Lodge Nakasero, and on Parliamentary Avenue, frequented by the well-suited and high-heeled of professionals.
The explosions fertilised with ammonium nitrate echoed horrendous sounds and shook buildings within half-a-kilometre radius and sent terrified city dwellers scampering.
In a televised address last Saturday night, President Museveni, who said he heard the blasts from State Lodge Nakasero, assured the country of security and criticised police for sleeping on the job.
The police, he said, had been lazy but the bombings had woken them up.
However, in an interview with this newspaper, Mr Luke Owoyesigire, the spokesperson for Kampala Metropolitan Police, said they have in the aftermath of the attacks introduced tougher security measures, including random screening and access controls.
Among the directives is a ban on parking of vehicles and other automobiles near police stations and other security installations besides increased foot and motorised security patrols.
“The counter terrorism-police bomb squad, foot and motorised patrols, [and] police surveillance teams of crime intelligence have been deployed in different areas and the intelligence officers are also monitoring all streets near the police premises to prevent any possible terror attack,” he said.
The part of Kampala central business district neighbouring areas where the bombs exploded remain under restricted access.
Police have also banned parking, mainly by passenger service vehicles such as buses and taxis, along City Square as well as Bank of Uganda headquarters on Kampala Road.
Only individuals with identity cards showing their workplaces are along Parliament Avenue can access the area while boda boda and special hire taxi stages on the road have been banned.
Mr Edison Kintu, a special hire taxi driver who stages on Parliament Avenue, said from last Tuesday, police blocked him from parking on the road, although he can drop off clients there.
“Here we have the office of the Inspectorate of Government (IG), police are heavily deployed, they only allow motorists and pedestrians to move on the street, even boda boda stages were removed,” he said.
In a mini survey, this newspaper found that parking has also been banned around East African Development Bank, Centenary Bank and fuel stations such like Shell Capital on Kampala Road and Total Jinja Road.
Accident or disused vehicles parked at police stations, some as exhibits, have also been towed away. It is unclear whether police have concentrated access restriction in already attacked areas because intelligence shows the possibility of a repeat explosion.
One of last Tuesday’s explosives went off at the quarter guard of CPS Kampala, which usually teems with uniformed officers awaiting deployment or others resolving disputes with arrested traffic offenders, many of who pay their way out through on-the-road bargain.
While screening the Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) camera footage for journalists, both police and the military said the IED at CPS was detonated by a suicide bomber from a backpack, although other analysts suggest the explosive was likely planted by the roadside.
Kampala Metropolitan Police Spokesperson Owoyesigire said that “territorial commanders were directed to remove all vehicles with traffic offences parked at stations and take them to inspectorate of vehicles park yard in Naguru (a Kampala suburb)”.
“Those vehicles with criminal cases to be taken to the parking yard of CID (Criminal Investigations Directorate) headquarters [in Kibuli] and those whose cases were complete should be taken to court as exhibits or be auctioned,” he said.
Police have also outlawed firearms beyond the gates to police stations and placed officers on standby to physically frisk guests even if they have passed through a walk-in detector or their bags scanned.
Precautions ---New security measure
1. Removal of all accident or exhibit vehicles from police stations.
2. Vehicle parking near police station and other security installations banned.
3. Automated and physical search of guests/baggage at police station gates.
4. Deployment of counter-terrorism and police bomb squad at main police stations.