Martyrs Day: Security tightened at Namugongo

Kampala– This year, Uganda Martyrs Day celebrations on the 3rd of June will be open for all at the Holy Shrines and Sites in Namugongo following a 2-year break caused by COVID19 pandemic.

There are four different venues, pilgrims are expected to gather and these include; Namugongo Catholic Martyrs Shrine, Namugongo Anglican Martyrs Shrine and Mamra Prayer Centre. In addition, the pilgrims at the Muslim Shrine in Namugongo are also expected to gather in large numbers.

According to the religious leaders at all these venues, thousands of people are anticipated to gather and participate in the events from all over the country, neighboring countries and other parts of the world.

Police spokesperson, Fred Enanga says although, a threat environment still exists in the country, currently, there are no credible or specific threats, directed towards the Uganda Martyrs Celebrations in Namugongo.

“Our Joint Security Task Teams are camped at all the four venues and continue to review our level of preparedness and assessments of threats and vulnerabilities towards the popular religious celebrations. We have worked on intelligence and analysis, profiled all venues, hotels and hotspots in the area, to help identify potential risks and taken steps, on how to address them.” Says Enanga

He adds, We also have standby teams, mobile squads, advance teams, 999 patrols, motorcycle squads as part of the multi-layered security posture. In addition, our cyber and ICT teams are using CCTV cameras, to effectively monitor the conduct and movement of pilgrims at the shrines and the routes they will use. The Joint UPF and UPDF Airwing will conduct aerial surveillance.

The police mouth piece urged the pilgrims, faith-based tourists and well-wishers, to remain vigilant and focused while at any of the venues.

“You are further advised to carry your ID or other identification documents, keep an eye on your personal belongings, wallet, mobile phones, and other objectives of value; avoid leaving elders or children alone, be wary of strangers, ensure your mobile phone is fully charged, let the family and friends know where you are.” He says

Enanga notes those who can make use of the UPF – MOBI APP, can call the nearest police unit or the National Operations Emergency Centre at Police Headquarters, Naguru, to enable them to attend to them easily on 0800199699, 0707600773, 0776999135

He further encouraged the pilgrims to be aware of their physical health and condition.

“They should not take risks by subjecting themselves to perseverance, hunger, thirst, standing for long, over congesting and other risky practices. In case of any signs of weakness, seek for immediate medical attention. In addition, its important to follow the rules at all venues, take care of the common facilities, milestones, signs, information panel and respect the pathway rules.” Notes Enanga

Police say a number of items will be prohibited from entry into the venues. Thess include; aerosols, ammunition, animals other than police K-9 dogs, backpacks exceeding size restrictions, balloons, bicycles, unmanned aerial vehicles, like drones other than for security, explosives, firearms, glass, thermos, metallic containers, pepper spray and any other items determined to be a potential hazard to the public event.

Enanga says that police remains committed to working with all stakeholders to ensure a very successful religious pilgrimage at all venues.