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Gov’t assures safety of tourists in Uganda

Minister Baryomunsi addressing the media.

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The government has appealed to tourists not to cancel their planned visits to Uganda following the recent wave of bombings in the different parts of Kampala.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday at the Uganda Media Centre, Dr. Chris Baryomunsi, the Minister of ICT and National Guidance said despite the bomb incidents which he described as isolated, Uganda remains very secure for everybody including the tourists.

On Tuesday, two bombs were detonated in the heart of Kampala at the Central Police Station and at Parliamentary Avenue. So far, the death toll stands at seven including the alleged suicide bombers. The explosions came less than a month since the other two bombs went off, one at Komamboga and another in a Swift Safari bus.

Such attacks which the British government had warned its citizens about, tend to scare away potential tourists. Uganda earns more than 1.5 billion U.S. dollars from tourism every year. The sector was just beginning to recover from the effects of coronavirus-induced lockdowns that saw the number of tourists visiting the country reduce to record levels.

Baryomunsi also said that the police have been instructed to arrest any person who posts information online purporting to show scenes of violence from terrorist attacks.

Baryomunsi whose ministry superintends over the Uganda Communications Commission-UCC, that regulates the broadcast and internet services said it has come to their attention that such videos and pictures not only cause public pandemonium, but are also from scenes outside Uganda or those unrelated to the bombs.

Baryomunsi also defended the practice that seems to be taking root in the country where the security forces shoot and kill people suspected of having played a part in terrorist acts.

In President Yoweri Museveni’s statement following the Kampala bombings, he said ever since the attempted murder of Gen Edward Katumba Wamala, security forces have killed seven suspects for attempting to resist arrest. However, media reports allege that some of those killed had been subdued and in handcuffs.

Asked whether now the official policy of government in relation to terror suspects is to shoot to kill, Baryomunsi said that the policy remains that a suspect is innocent until proven guilty.

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