Following yesterday’s attack on Dusit Hotel along Riverside Drive in Nairobi, Police in Uganda have warned the public to be vigilant, saying they are closely monitoring the situation in Kenya. Outgoing Police spokesperson Emilian Kayima yesterday said all security agencies were working together to ensure the safety of Ugandans.
Kayima is handing over office to Commissioner of Police Fred Enanga, today. Sections of the media reported yesterday that alShabaab terrorist group linked to al-Qaeda terrorists, claimed responsibility for yesterday’s attack in which five people were by press time reported dead and scores injured. The most recent terror attack on Kenya was at the Westgate Mall in September 2013 where 71 people, who included 62 civilians, five Kenyan soldiers and four attackers, died.
In all the attacks, al-Shabaab claims they are paying back for the Kenyan military’s deployment in their home country of Somalia. A senior Counter-terrorism Police officer, who preferred anonymity, said they issued terror alerts and announced comprehensive measures to forestall possible attacks on Uganda. “The threat of terrorism is real.
We have to keep alert all the time, gather intelligence which we usually share with friendly countries,” the officer pointed out. Since July 2010, Uganda has managed and averted possible terrorist attacks by taking alerts serious and foiling several attempted attacks. Over 20 suspected terrorists have been arrested and arraigned before court and sent to Luzira Prison.
Need for vigilance
In an earlier communication about terrorism, Uganda security agencies have called for increased vigilance and urged the public to be on the look-out for suspicious elements and abandoned objects, like bags, cars, and boxes if terrorism is to be defeated. They also warned against receiving unexpected gifts, flowers, flasks, mails and parcels, as well as electronics such as radios, watches, cameras, televisions and any other items with loose wires attached.
In the recent past, security measures have been stepped up with the deployment of guards and sniffer dogs in public places. Members of the public have time and again been warned to avoid places lacking minimum security measures. Other measures included increased security checks in schools, hospitals, universities and the public transport sector.
Owners of facilities like banks and malls, were advised to ensure that premises are kept neat and clean. All rubbish containers, excessive stock and equipment should be disposed of. They also called for security lights and alarms to be installed along non-porous perimeter fences. Hotels, malls, supermarkets, markets and public buildings with underground parking areas should put in place additional guards among other measures.
In case of public gatherings, event organizers were asked to co-ordinate with the Police before staging shows. With the above measures and increased surveillance by the security, the Police and sister security agencies believe they can keep terrorists at bay.