What you need to know:
- Let’s be vigilant on security matters not just for ourselves but the victims too.
The Kampala double terror attack of Tuesday morning is a stark reminder that the threat of terrorism is never far away. And it is not like we needed the reminder either.
The Komamboga hit is only a couple of weeks old and the scars of July 11, 2010, at Kyadondo Rugby Grounds, are still as fresh as are those horrific images of young football fans, some still holding hands, frozen in their seats by the violent suddenness of their deaths.
These terror acts may be deliberate but their victims are random. To survive is to be lucky. And this being a small town we all can relate to the violence at a very personal level. I for one survived an earlier attack at the Slow-Boat Pub during the 1998 World Cup final.
Clearly, I was saved by the lack of refinement of the device that went off five metres from where I was playing a game of pool during the halftime break. So, like many of us, I have lived the fear. And the scars stay with you forever, if not physically then at least psychologically.
What is chilling now though is recent patterns suggest that the carnage or at least attempts at it, will be more regular. Therefore, our love for public viewing of sports events is also a very risky affair and the security in all those pubs we frequent to watch football cannot be taken for granted anymore.
Yes, many of our pubs are small and might not attract the attention of a volume- obsessed terrorist. But if the CPS and IPS attacks show anything it’s that the attackers will not always aim for supersized crowds. They will adapt and change tactics to avoid being predictable.
That change could mean an attack on ‘bufundas’ like was the case with Komamboga. And nothing spreads fear quite like a sustained attack on those very social nets that catch our fall, when we trip from all the ravages that the covid pandemic has visited upon us for the last 20 months.
So, this is an appeal to all of us. After we are done passing judgment on those whose mangled religious ideas have turned them into cowardly murderers let us change. Let us be more vigilant on security matters. We do it neither to mock terrorists, nor, by the way do we do it in memory of those who have passed. But maybe we should. We owe that to all those who paid the ultimate price.
You see sometimes tragedy forces upon us a brotherhood and all the people who have paid with their lives in whatever form of terror over the years, they are our siblings. They represent a rock that can no longer be leaned on and a hand that can no longer be held. They may be the missing part of once intertwined lives but in their death, we must find a new way to see the world.
As for those responsible for the terror, it is hard to understand their logic. But what is apparent to me is that no one is safe. The victims of Tuesday morning or that dark Sunday night 11 years ago could have been you or me. They should not have been targets. They weren’t exceptional people with a premium on their heads. They were friends, parents, children, siblings – all living everyday lives.
May their souls rest in peace and may we find the vigilance that is suggestive we have heeded the lessons. That way their deaths will not be in vain.
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