Ugandan police on Tuesday evening urged citizens to remain vigilant after a 20-month curfew was lifted in the wake of terrorist attacks that have been witnessed in the country in the past few months.
In a statement, the police said: “We wish to remind all the reopened sectors about the threat of terrorism, posed by individual actors and small groups inspired primarily by ADF (Allied Democratic Forces). Some of these hangout places are soft targets. Although we have greatly disrupted some of the real threats posed by these terrorists, they still remain determined on causing harm to citizens in the country, which calls for extra vigilance as we go about our daily activities.”
Last year, Uganda was attacked by terrorists who bombed different places including a bar in Komamboga, a Kampala suburb, and a western region-bound bus. There were also twin bomb blasts around the Central Police Station in Kampala and Parliament Avenue on November 16, 2021. In the four incidents, seven people died, including the two suspected suicide bombers.
On October 20, 2021, when President Uhuru Kenyatta announced the end of curfew in Kenya, ending the nationwide night curfew that had been in effect since March 2020 at the onset of coronavirus pandemic in the country, the news was received with excitement in Uganda and the video of Kenyatta speaking was widely circulated on social media.
In Uganda, the lovers of night life started preparing for the lifting of the curfew. However, it was to be a three-month wait.
Their relief came when President Yoweri Museveni said in his New Year speech that the economy would be fully opened.
President Museveni confirmed two days ago that the night life, which is largely defined by opening night operations for bars, pubs, clubs, cafes, restaurants, retail shops, cinemas, theatres, concerts and transport, would resume on Monday, January 24, except boda boda transport , which he said security agencies were still scrutinising, given the number of murders blamed on criminals on motorcycles.
At the beginning of the year, President Museveni said the economy would be opened, whether the Covid vaccination targets would be achieved or not. The country had targeted to vaccinate 22 million people, half of whom have been inoculated so far.
On Tuesday, the police noted that there was a high demand for night clubs, and social entertainment, bars and saunas as well as unrestricted movement for motorists.
"Everyone is excited. However, we should be keen to adhere to the health and safety protocols required to reduce the spread of the virus,” t said the statement signed by Police spokesperson Fred Enanga.
The reopening of the country comes with an increase in the number of Covid-19 infections.
"Therefore, it is important that we carefully manage the reopening in the safest possible way. These include installing ventilation systems in all venues, sanitation stations in all clubs, increased frequency of cleaning schedules and the deployment of highly trained staff,” said the statement.
Uganda has seen a spike in the number of cases of Covid-19, with the entry of Omicron in November last year. However, the numbers began going down a week before Christmas and have remained low, which experts attribute to the efforts by people to seriously take the safety measures.
Uganda had recorded 160,352 Covid cases, with 3,474 deaths and 99,079 recoveries by Monday.