The highly anticipated Nyege Nyege festival for 2023 wrapped up in Jinja after four days of lively celebrations that drew participants from various East African countries and beyond. The event, held at multiple venues including the source of the Nile, Agriculture showground, Golf course, and Nike Park, showcased a diverse array of local and international artists, attracting both local and international attendees.
However, the festival encountered a setback with a lower-than-expected turnout of foreign revelers, reportedly due to terror threat allegations linked to the infamous ADF terrorists. This security concern prompted the temporary closure of two neighboring schools, Victoria Nile and Summit Primary Schools, in Jinja city.
Despite the challenges, law enforcement authorities deployed an intensive joint security operation at the festival venues. SP James Mubi, the Kiira region police spokesperson, addressed journalists on Monday, revealing that 45 suspects were apprehended and detained for various alleged criminal activities.
Among the reported incidents were 20 cases of mobile phone theft, three instances of personation of security officers, and three arrests for possession of illegal drugs. Additionally, five individuals were detained for assault, and twelve were found with forged festival tickets, among other offenses.
“We experienced one fire outbreak sparked off by overloading, but we promptly addressed it, and we registered one case of stealing from a motor vehicle,” emphasized Mubi.
Currently detained at Jinja Central Police Station and Nalufenya Police Station, the suspects have not been linked to any marine accidents. Kiira region police Marine and UPDF marine boats patrolled the waters of the River Nile and Lake Victoria to ensure the safety of festival-goers.
Despite the security challenges, the Nyege Nyege Festival remains a significant economic opportunity for businesses, including hotels, cultural attires and crafts, restaurants, and boda-boda riders. The event is known for its economic impact, contributing to local businesses and promoting tourism in Uganda, with attendees exploring the renowned tourism sites in and around Jinja.