Ugandan army and police on Thursday conducted a massive security operation across central Kampala and beyond following warnings of planned terror attacks on key installations.
The operation also covered the Entebbe International Airport, with members from the Joint Anti-Terror Taskforce (JATT) taking charge of security.
The US Embassy sent out warnings to Americans not to pass through Entebbe because intelligence reports had indicated that the airport was likely to be attacked on Thursday evening.
Hundreds of officers, some wielding high velocity sniper rifles, and others light weapons patrolled the capital city’s suburbs, causing panic among residents during the morning rush hour.
Deputy police spokesperson Polly Namaye said they had received intelligence reports, which they passed on to the US Embassy, that an unknown terrorist group would attack the airport between 9pm and midnight.
“We couldn’t take anything for granted. We deployed both JATT and the Counter-Terrorism Police to carry out more searches,” said Ms Namaye.
No one was arrested.
“The US Embassy has received information from the Uganda Police Force that according to intelligence sources there is a specific threat to attack Entebbe International Airport by an unknown terrorist group today, July 3 … Individuals planning to travel through the airport this evening may want to review their plans in light of this information,” says the advisory.
Last week, Inspector-General of Police Kale Kayihura said Entebbe airport was at high risk of being attacked by terrorists.
Gen Kayihura said a terror group had already rehearsed how it would carry out the attack.
Thursday’s was one of the largest joint operations to be conducted in Kampala. Another was carried out during the “walk to work” protests in 2012.
Security teams mounted roadblocks and carried out body searches in the central business district.
Officers patrolled the busy and crowded St Balikuddembe Market and surrounding bus terminuses.
Vehicles heading to the airport were stopped and the occupants asked to alight before being frisked.
Kampala Metropolitan police spokesman Patrick Onyango said the intervention was to deter terror attacks during the World Cup finals.
“We also have several international conferences under way at (the Commonwealth Resort) Munyonyo and hotels in Kampala. We have to ensure that all those visitors are secure,” said Mr Onyango.
( Courtesy Daily Nation, Government of Uganda & AGENCIES …….. Source ……. Our Freelance Contributor in Nairobi)