Jinja: Security officials in Kiira region have initiated a series of engagements with various stakeholders to devise effective strategies for mitigating the looming threat of terrorism, a concern that has placed both national security and citizens on edge. Led by the Deputy Resident City Commissioner (RCC) for Southern Division in Jinja, Mr. Henry Kitambula, a team of top regional police officers, including the Regional Police Commander, SSP Rogers Sseguya, Jinja District Police Commander Innocent Tusiime, bomb technicians, and intelligence officers from ISO and ESO, convened a crucial meeting on Monday at the Jinja City Hall. In attendance were religious leaders from diverse faiths, representing Islam, Christianity, Catholicism, Seventh-day Adventists, and Born-Again congregations.
The primary objective of this gathering was to highlight and acknowledge the pivotal role of the clergy in countering terror threats within their respective places of worship. The meeting was prompted by a recent suspected bomb attack at Pastor Robert Kayanja’s church in Uganda’s capital, Kampala. The alarming incident, linked to the Allied Defense Forces (ADF) terrorists, prompted the Commander-in-Chief, President Yoweri Museveni, to issue cautions regarding sensitive venues, including churches, hotels, and guesthouses, during his state of the nation address.
One of the key outcomes of the meeting was the decision to implement the president’s guidelines, which include the registration of all individuals at places of worship, hotels, and guesthouses. Additional measures include the installation of CCTV cameras, walkthrough machines, procurement of hand probe metal detectors, and rigorous screening at access points for both individuals and vehicles. Local cinema halls received stern warnings against violating security protocols, and landlords were urged to introduce their tenants to Local Council chairpersons, who will conduct weekly village meetings in collaboration with the police.
Reports suggest that terrorists are targeting densely populated areas, including Kampala Metropolitan, Jinja, Mbarara, Kasese, and other cities. To address this, the Kiira regional police command has ramped up integrated patrols along highways, streets, and business centers. Edward Lwanga, the Jinja City Clerk, has pledged to expedite the installation of security lighting within the city.
Darius Nandinda, the Jinja Resident City Commissioner (RCC), addressed bar operators, guesthouse and hotel owners on September 7, elaborating on potential measures to counteract terrorism. This followed a meeting between private security officers (PSO) from the Kiira region and proprietors, managers, and supervisors of private security firms in Jinja city and Jinja district, aimed at addressing the threat of terror attacks.
SP James Mubi, the Kiira region police spokesperson, disclosed that the City Security Committee would convene a meeting with local chairpersons and councilors on September 15. He emphasized that all stakeholders, including boda-boda riders, taxi parks, and island communities, would undergo sensitization. Jinja has been fortunate to avoid bomb blasts since 2003, a success attributed to increased public vigilance.
The collaboration between security forces and the clergy, along with a vigilant public, underscores the community’s commitment to securing the region against potential terror threats.