As the football fever heightens across Africa with the kickoff of the 2019 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) finals, Police in Uganda is cautioning the public to be vigilant and take precaution in regard to security.
AFCON 2019 finals opened Friday in Egypt and most people in Uganda will be interested in viewing the games especially that Uganda is participating.
Police has issued a statement saying the opening of the tournament calls for heightened security measures on the part of security agencies, football lovers as well as owners of premises where these matches will be viewed from.
“Vigilance and alertness are very key not only for the success of this tournament but also for personal security as we go about our lawful day to day activities,” the Deputy Police spokesperson, ACP Polly Namaye said in a statement on Friday.
“We urge the public to be mindful of their surroundings, to keenly look out for suspicious people and items and report timely to the nearest police stations,” she added.
These items could be bags, loose wires, belts, phones, computers, electrical appliances and other items.
“The Police remain mindful of the July 2010 experience when terrorists attacked football fans who were watching world cup finals in Kampala”.
About 74 people were killed and 71 others injured following twin bombings that hit the Ethiopian Village in Kabalagala and Kyadondo Rugby Club. The bombs went off as soccer fans gathered to watch the 2010 FIFA World Cup Final.
Al-Shabaab, an Islamist militia based in Somalia that has ties to Al-Qaeda, claimed responsibility for the blasts.
Police says working closely with other security agencies, have already put in place mechanisms to ensure safety of all people in Uganda as well as their properties.
Some of these measures include joint foot and motorized patrols in the city centers, suburbs, towns and villages.
Owners of entertainment spots that will be showing the games have also been asked to comply with access control measures and other related security guidelines, with a view of ensuring that owners of premises such as hotels and bars comply with this directive.
Territorial police are cooperating with event organizers “so as to ease the flow of information relating to incidents that may be deemed as security concerns”.
This, Namaye said, will enable timely planning and intervention.
“Traffic Police will continue to carry out operations aimed at ensuring safety of all road users, as well as to check traffic offences such as driving recklessly, driving under the influence of alcohol and others”.
Police has also deployed personnel in areas that attract big numbers people for purposes of intelligence gathering and covert security.
In a bid to ensure safety of children and babies, parents will not be allowed into bars and video halls. Parents have also been encouraged to place their children under the care of a responsible adult(s) at all times if the parents have to go leave them behind.