Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Police have urged Ugandans to be careful and watch out for criminal gangs and terror groups that might use the reopening of bars to wreak havoc. Bars that have been under lock and key for close to two years have resumed operations today.
In a joint communication shared by Police Spokesperson Fred Enanga, security agencies said that much as security is alert since the revellers are very excited about the reopening of bars as well as other leisure and entertainment centres, each individual should be their own first line of safety.
Bar owners, according to Enanga, should ensure that people accessing their premises are vaccinated but they should also be thoroughly checked to avoid sneaking in dangerous firearms and rudimentary weapons.
“Curfew is no more and people are free to enjoy their nightlife. Already the information we have is that people are excited over the resumption of night economy. But above all, we should adhere to COVID-19 SOPs. Not all Ugandans are vaccinated, if you go out to enjoy in bars be careful,” Enanga said.
President Yoweri Museveni closed bars in March 2020 in a bid to control the spread of COVID-19. Even though several bars have been illegally operating, today marks the end of the two weeks period, after the reopening of schools that the president declared for them to resume operations.
A security meeting held in preparation for policing the night economy reported that all OCs and DPCs have been urged to conduct impromptu visits to bars and purposely ensure that they have among other things, security teams checking revellers, ensuring non-vaccinated people do not access venues and that each person washes their hands at the entrance.
“Bars come with excitement and it is rare to keep social distance. Owners of these places you are advised to ensure you have enough ventilation. Make sure you have hand washing facilities. Ensure you have enough workers, experience and teach them how to handle crowds,” Enanga said.
Uganda registered explosive incidents in October and November last year leaving nine people including four suspected suicide bombers dead. The attacks started on October 23, in Komamboga when an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) went off killing a female worker Emily Nyinaneza on spot.
Two days later, another devise exploded inside Swift Bus killing a suspected bomber identified as Isaac Matovu. The deadliest explosive went off on November 16 at Kampala Central Police and Parliamentary Avenue and this killed Police Constable Amos Kungu, boda-boda rider Ismael Basibe, George Katana and Christopher Sande.
Security has also reminded revellers not to risk moving on motorcycles in the night because they were left under a 7 pm curfew by president Museveni.
“Boda-boda curfew is still on. Riders, passengers and revelers make sure you have cars. If you expect to use boda-boda starting at 8pm, we shall not allow this. Our security officers will be on the roads to hunt for boda-boda defying curfew. If you are going out in the night, please use cars,” Enanga said.
Among the night gangs, the public has been warned about the gang terrorizing people at Northern Bypass where at least two people have been killed by gangs throwing stones and pavers at vehicles.