President Yoweri Museveni has directed all Ugandans not to allow suspicious new people into their places of worship to prevent vulnerability to terror attacks.
During the September 7 national address on Uganda’s security situation, the President said terrorists take advantage of gatherings and if not noticed and isolated, can easily cause havoc.
“Watch out for anybody who goes to church when they are not known in the area. Challenge them! Do not only challenge them but also contact the police. Somebody you do not know in your area should not enter in your church, should not enter in your bar,” he said.
He said at bars and other drinking joints, new comers should be challenged to identify themselves, if suspicious, they should be reported to the police.
The President acknowledged the terror threats in the country but said the UPDF are pursuing the attackers and other suspected terrorists.
“Ugandans, as we are hunting these people [Allied Democratic Forces, ADF] in [Democratic Republic of] Congo. Your job is to see anybody you do not know and say, come, who are you?”
In a broadcast aired on most radio and television stations across the country for about 53 minutes, President Museveni asked Ugandans not to panic at a time when terrorists threaten the peace of the country.
“My purpose of speaking to you now is to make you people not panic, thinking that this is a big problem. The main point of precaution is people should be alert. The people who are doing this [planting bombs] are people who are not known in the area,” he said.
He also directed hotels and lodges to take particulars of their clients with clear Identity Cards, IDs and phone numbers.
The President said since terrorists must sleep in the night, if well interrogated, cracks in their identity can give clues of their intentions for thorough security checks.
“Hotels must not allow anybody to book without showing their ID cards,” he said adding that since Uganda has electronic ID Cards, the particulars of guests can be taken to collect information of any suspicious person.
With the thinking that the terrorists may stay with unsuspecting families if blocked from using hotels, lodges or rentals, methods of detection among the community can be effective in weeding out wrong elements.
He also directed that busses and other public means of transport should screen all travelers.
The President said the ADF rebels have caused pain to many people and must face the law whenever caught.
He asked the rebels to surrender.
“There is still advantage to surrender now, if not, they will die. The only option at this time is to surrender. There will be no amnesty because you have done many bad things. You will be punished and sentenced, maybe not death but you will be punished,” he said.
He said the Uganda People’s Defence Forces, UPDF should give the public timely information for safety.
According to President Museveni, captured suspected terrorists should be made to tell their stories to the public.
“Why should Museveni be the one to talk about ADF? There are commanders who have been captured. You should mention and let the people who have been involved to tell the stories, the journalists asking them questions so that the people get to know. There are some secretes of plans but what happens in the past is no longer a secret. The UPDF are the ones to be talking about the security situation if those people are killed or captured,” he said.
He told Ugandans that “We know the planners [of attacks]. Sometimes we do not get to know the executors [but] the planners are in [DR] Congo. We are going for them. The Congo government has allowed us. We shall go for these ones sending young people to kill people here [in Uganda].”
Recently, three bombs allegedly planted by terrorists that were to be exploded were detonated including one at Miracle Centre Cathedral, a Pentecostal church in Kampala on September 3.
The President said the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) have arrested seven people in connection with the planted bombs.