By Innocent Anguyo
Makerere University has issued a terror alert in light of forestalling any terror attacks on the institution after numerous reports in recent months that terrorists were plotting to attack Uganda.
In a notice issued to the entire university community earlier this week, the Makerere University Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Finance and Administration Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, called for collective vigilance at the institution.
“In light of the national terror alert, all members of the university are hereby called upon to exercise maximum vigilance,” stated Prof Nawangwe in the statement pinned on University notice boards.
It is argued that, Makerere being one of the most recognized features in Uganda, it could be a soft target to terrorists. Online University ranking body Webometrics recently ranked Makerere fourth in Africa, and the best outside South Africa.
Nawangwe called on all members of Uganda’s premier university to report suspicious and rare identities to the authorities especially the University police.
He further asked Makerereans to guard against attacks by both terrorists and common thugs.
“Avoid atmosphere that could raise one’s susceptibility to being a victim of attack like walking alone with expensive gadgets in the night,” reiterated Nawangwe.
The Deputy Vice Chancellor also asked students and staff to report criminal minded people in their respective vicinities to police in light to launching investigations into their intention.
“Call the chief security officer (Makerere University) on 0701400668 and 0718792486,” recommended Nawangwe. Makerere boasts of over 90 internal security personnel and on top of a fully-fledged police posts.
In recent weeks, Makerere has heightened security. Body search at entrances into the institution’s main facilities such as the administration building, the senate building, banks, the library, some colleges among others have been intensified.
Nevertheless, there is still a lot that needs to be done to guarantee security at Makerere. Despite having a partial perimeter wall, the university can be accessed through several illegal walkways.
As some of the facilities for staff have metal detectors, all lecture theatres and halls of residence neither have metal detectors nor guards to search people who enter the premises.
All the security changes at Makerere follow issuance of a national terror alert by The United States Embassy in Uganda, warning that terrorists were plotting to attack the Pearl of Africa.
Consequently, the government equally asked all institutions across the country to heighten security. Vision Group followed suit by running a month long terror-awareness campaign that has massively improved the public’s comprehension of the subject.
All the security efforts in Uganda are consequent to the terror attack on upscale Kenyan shopping facility, Westgate mall that left scores of Kenyans, diplomats and foreigners dead.
There are also unconfirmed media reports that the terrorists suspected to be behind the attack on the mall entered the country.
Police spokeswoman Judith Nabakooba recently refuted such allegation though stating that even if the suspects passed through Uganda, they equally travelled across several other countries before reaching their target-Uganda should not shoulder the blame for the attack.
In 2010, Somali based terror group Al-shabaab hit Uganda, leaving 74 people dead and scores injured. The Ethiopian restaurant and Kyadondo rugby grounds, both public event venues were attacked then.