Uganda’s police issue terror alert, call for increased public vigilance

Tuesday November 9 2010

By Joint Report


Uganda’s police force on Monday urged the public to be vigilant following a fresh warning by Somali militants that they will carry out new terror attacks in Kampala, the Uganda capital.

Idi Senkumbi, Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesman, said police and other security agencies are not taking lightly last week's warnings by the Al Shabaab that they will launch attacks on Kampala and Burundi's capital Bujumbura if the two East African countries do not withdraw their troops from Somalia.

The Al Shabaab, a Somalia Islamist group linked to Al Qaeda, claimed responsibility for the July 11, 2010 bombings in Kampala, which left 80 people dead and scores injured, majority of them revellers watching the finals of the world cup.

The attack was to avenge Uganda's deployment of peacekeepers in Somalia. Uganda and Burundi have over 7,000 troops deployed in the capital of the volatile country under AU mission in Somalia (AMISOM, to guard installations such as the port.

Senkumbi said that whereas police has built capacity to handle any terror threat, the public should increase vigilance and report any suspicious characters.

"I would like to inform the public that these warnings are becoming constant and that it is incumbent upon all of us to take serious measures to make sure that these people do not have a lee way of penetrating us again," he said.

He urged the public to shun places like shopping malls, entertainment centers that have failed to comply with police's guidelines on access control.

The police's warning also comes at a time when there is increased political activity in the East African country as the 2011 general elections draw close.

In most of the public gatherings and political rallies taking place in Uganda, there have been limited security checks.

Early in the week, High ranking official from Al-Shabaab, the radical Islamist group opposing the Transitional Federal Government in Somalia, threatened to attack Uganda and Burundi, if they do not withdraw their soldiers from Somali.

The two countries contribute the bulk of the of soldiers serving under Amisom.

Sheikh Fu’ad Mohamed Khalaf alias Sheikh Fu’ad Shongole, the Chief Awareness-Raiser of Al-Shabaab, the movement will wage attacks on Bujumbura and Kampala "to revenge for Somalis allegedly killed by the peacekeepers in Mogadishu."

Speaking at the end of a seminar organized by Al-Shabaab for traditional clan elders in Mogadishu, Sheikh Shongole warned that residents of Kampala and Bujumbura will bear the consequences of their countries role in killing children and mothers.

“Those who killed our children and forced our mothers to wear mourning dresses, bombarding the city with fire from mortar and other guns should know that they will cry as have happened before,” said sheikh.
“It is now time for all to join the jihad (holy war) that will lead us to heaven,” he added.

Sheikh Ali Mohamed Hussein, the Al-Shabaab Governor in Mogadishu, also urged the elders at the seminar to join the jihad.

“It is time to join the jihad and stop wasting time talking about the war,” Sheikh Hussein told the participants. “You must be seen in the battlefronts,” he added.

Last Tuesday, Sheikh Hussein urged women and children to take part in the Jihad, adding that Somalia had been subject to aggressions from America, Ethiopia, Uganda and Burundi, compelling women to participate in the ongoing wars.