Uganda has put its elite and regular security forces on a higher alert amid fears of what a Counter Terrorism chief described as possible “simultaneous or isolated attacks” by terrorists.
Uganda last witnessed terrorist bombings by Somali-based Al Shabaab in 2010 in which dozens were killed.
The incident shook the country and exposed security forces’ unpreparedness to avert large scale terrorism attacks.
In an internal memo, Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIGP) Abbas Byakagaba, said “credible intelligence indicates possible intention to conduct simultaneous or isolated attacks on Uganda and another East African Country, targeting unspecified areas/facilities including those frequented by foreign nationals.”
Byakagaba did not mention the East African country also targeted by extremists.
The Counter Terrorism Director, however, emphasised: “It is on this note that all commanders should with immediate effect, implement all but not limited to the security measures.”
ChimpReports understands the police’s terror alertness message comes high on the heels of a United States briefing to Uganda’s security services that the country faced an imminent terrorist strike.
Police have since ordered all personnel at places of deployment to remain alert and vigilant and regular forces to conduct security inspections and snap checks on all crowded places especially those that host foreign nationals for whatever purpose.
Byakagaba also directed on enhanced and focused counter terrorism deployments, patrols, surveillance and intelligence operations in areas of responsibility.
He said alert squads should be activated to check on alertness of personnel on duty and also close cooperation with sister security forces including controlling access to places that conduct routine checks and those that do not normally do so.
Ugandans have previously complained of laxity among security guards deployed in crowded places.
Byakagaba ordered enhanced “protection of stations, barracks and other vital installations”.
The 2010 bombings targeted soccer fans watching the World Cup finals.
In his June 20 memo, Byakagaba today said as Africa Cup of Nations commences on June 21, 2019, through to the final day of the tournament, police must “ensure increased vigilance at all those venues that intend to conduct public viewing of the matches.”
Contacted for comment, police publicist Fred Enanga confirmed the memo as genuine but quickly added that it was meant for “internal use and compliance.”