Uganda’s Entebbe Expressway declared ‘safe’ after bomb scare

Wednesday March 08 2023
Kajjansi toll station along Uganda's Entebbe Expressway

Kajjansi toll station along Uganda's Entebbe Expressway which has been declared safe after a bomb scare earlier on the morning of March 8. 2023. PHOTO | COURTESY


Ugandan police have declared the Entebbe Expressway safe after a bomb scare earlier Wednesday morning.

“Update! Entebbe Expressway now open for public use," the police tweeted after the bomb squad was sent to investigate an object suspected to be an explosive.

Ugandans woke up to a terror scare on the shortest route to Entebbe International Airport when police closed it and diverted traffic.

The police said the bomb squad was carrying out investigations and asked road users to use the old Entebbe road. After the operation that lasted a couple of hours, the road was re-opened to the public.

Read: Police ask Ugandans to remain vigilant

“This is to inform all road users who are using Entebbe Express Highway that there's an investigation going on by the Police Bomb Squad along the Expressway. You are, therefore, requested to use the Old Entebbe Road to the city and to Entebbe for the time being,” the statement from Kauma Nsereko, the Commander of Kampala Metropolitan Police Traffic, said.


Abandoned bag

There was an abandoned bag at Kajjansi, about 10km from Kampala city centre, which was reported by the public, according to the police.

“We appreciate the public for their vigilance in reporting suspicious abandoned items, and we commend our bomb squad crisis intervention teams and Pinnacle security for their quick response,” said a statement from the police.

“We would also like to thank the public for their patience and cooperation during the brief traffic disruption caused by the evacuation of the abandoned object. Our officers worked tirelessly to ensure the safety of everyone involved, and we appreciate the understanding and support of the public,” the statement adds, before announcing that the road was safe for use.

After its commissioning a few years ago, the 51-kilometre, four-lane road eased travel from Kampala to Entebbe and eased traffic gridlock on the old Entebbe road. However, it also attracted robbers who waylaid vehicles and robbed victims, prompting the government to consider deployment of security personnel on the road.

Read: Terror groups keep East African region on edge

Lack of lights

In October 2022, works minister Katumba Wamala asked the executive director of Uganda National Roads Authority Allen Kagina to consider deployment of three security vehicles to curb insecurity on the road. According to UNRA media relations manager Allan Ssempebwa, this was done in order to make the road safe. Ugandans blame the rampant insecurity and accidents on the road to lack of lights.

Uganda has remained on the list of countries targeted by terrorism, with the most recent one being the twin bombings near the central police station and near Parliament in which seven people died and scores were injured.

The attacks, largely blamed on the Allied Democratic Forces holed in the Democratic Republic of Congo, followed an attack in Kampala’s suburb of Komamboga which killed one person while scores were injured.

Read: Uganda charges 15 with terrorism

Last year, Uganda’s security agencies reported that they had neutralised over 50 attempted terrorist attacks over two years.

In one attempt, a bomb had been planted on a bus plying the western route of Bushenyi.

In November 2021, the Uganda People’s Defence Force launched an assault against the ADF in Congo an attempt to block terrorists, who have been fighting the Kampala government for over two decades now, from using the porous border to cause mayhem in Uganda.