- Eight held as Kenyan authorities try to unmask the faces behind the terrorist attack
The Police in Uganda has heightened alertness to detect any possible terror attack on the country.
“The Police and the other security agencies are taking extra security measures, including increased patrols, intensified access control at public places as well as checks on vehicles along highways,” a statement from the Inspector General of Police, Gen. Kale Kayihura, read.
Kayihura reminded the general public that Uganda remains high on the list of targets by the al-Shabaab and other terror groups. He said efforts of security agencies alone was not enough.
“Fighting terrorism requires combining the vigilance of security agencies with popular vigilance,” he said.
The public has also been urged to be conscious of its surroundings at all times. “Take interest in what goes on in your neighborhoods. Be suspicious even of your shadow. Look out for a strange and suspicious looking person in the neighbourhood, demand for their identity.
"Examine their behaviour and detect any signs of panic, the way they speak, how they dress, like wearing overcoats when it is not cold. If you notice anything suspicious, inform any LC official or the nearest Police post or security officer,” Kayihura said.
The public has also been urged to look out for suspicious or abandoned items like bags, cars, boxes, unexpected gifts, flowers, flasks, mails and parcels, abandoned suitcases, dust bins, electronics; like radios watches, cameras, mobile phones, television and other items with loose wires attached and immediately report to the authorities.
The Police has also urged increased security and safety in all public places, especially shopping malls and major supermarkets.
“We call upon proprietors of such premises to have a deep sense of responsibility and cooperate with the Police, and other security agencies to implement counter terror measures that we plan to institute (together with them) in their respective places,” he said.
Kayihura urged building owners to regulate access control to buildings/venues/events by putting in place guards who are who are alert, 24/7 at entry points, to check those accessing the premises and installing functioning metal detectors and dogs (if possible) to detect possible of explosives.
“Security lights and alarms, should be placed along non-porous perimeter fences, be installed,” he said.
Proprietors have also been urged to ensure that premises are kept neat and clean. All rubbish containers, excessive stock and equipment should be disposed off to decrease the possibility of bomb shelters.
Educational institutions should implement the basic standards for safety provided to them by the education ministry. They should ensure that visitors to the premises are properly searched and entrances manned by trained security guards.
Meanwhile, Kenyan authorities are holding eight people in connection with an attack on a Nairobi shopping mall and have released three others after the assault that killed more than 60 civilians and soldiers, the interior minister said on Friday.
Somali Islamist group al-Shabaab said Saturday’s attack, was “just the premiere of Act 1” and suggested it would be followed by other attacks.
Investigators trying to determine the identity of the attackers were making “good progress” in their search through the rubble of the mall where three floors collapsed after a series of blasts and a huge blaze, Interior Minister Joseph Ole Lenku said. Five of the attackers were killed, he said, but survivors of the attack have said some may have escaped.
“Police are holding eight suspects as they seek to unmask the face behind the terror attack. Three others were interrogated and released,” Ole Lenku told a news briefing.
Kenyan officials have said they are investigating a theory that the Islamists may have hired a shop in the mall before the assault to store weaponry, including a heavy machine gun.
Suspects were being held under anti-terrorism laws, meaning they could be held “for longer periods before being arraigned in court,” Ole Lenku said.
Al-Shabaab, which is linked to al Qaeda, said it launched the attack to demand Kenya to withdraw its troops from Somalia. Kenyan forces deployed in Somalia in 2011 to strike at the group which Nairobi blamed for attacks and kidnappings in Eastern Kenya.
“The mesmeric performance by the Westgate Warriors was undoubtedly gripping, but that was just the premiere of Act 1,” the group said on Twitter.
Muslim scholar Ibrahim Lethome condemned the attack when he addressed worshippers at Nairobi’s central Jamia mosque on Friday.
“Islam is against the killing of innocent people. It is a crime,” he said. He said the government should avoid persecuting Muslims as it seeks to identify those responsible.