By Steven Candia
Police public relations arm on Monday went into over drive, holding a series of sensitization campaigns on various media houses ahead of Martyrs day (Tuesday) celebrations at Namugongo, Waksio district.
Pilgrims queue outside Namugongo Cathilic Martyrs' shrine under a Counter Terrorism officer's watch. Photo/Juliet Lukwago
Massive drive, especially on electronic media was broadly on security but heavy on terrorism with policing saying policing the event expected to draw thousands of worshipers top most on their agenda.
“For now our focus is how to police the function effectively,” Police spokesperson Fred Enanga who by mid-morning had featured on two programmes on a local television and FM radio station said.
Pilgrims in their thousands have been arriving at Namugongo for the past two weeks. Photo/Juliet Lukwago
“We are appealing to the public to be security conscious and report suspicious object or person to the police,” he said shortly after emerging from a local TV station programme before rushing on another programme on an FM station.
Fred Kaweesi, the Kampala police boss under whose area Namugongo falls started his day appearing on local TV station while Anatoli Muleterwa, the Kampala police political commissar who doubles as the community liaisons officer appeared on an FM station as Patrick Onyango, the Kampala police spokesperson featured on UBC.
Pilgrims in their thousands spend nights ahead of Martyrs' Day tomorrow, June 3. Photo/Juliet Lukwago
Though Enanga declined to disclose the physical strength of police deployed for the function, he said, more than ample man power had been deployed with some bussed in from up country stations. Some of the personnel deployed are also from Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams. Sources said close to 7000 policemen, some covert, have been deployed.
Business around the shrine is booming as traders look to cash in from pilgrims. Photo/Juliet Lukwago
“We have left the requisite manpower in some of the up country stations so as not to create a void,” Enanga said. However, sources said the security focus is not the shrine but the entire Namugongo area, with a security ring thrown around Kireka, a neighboring city suburb.
A number of snap check points will be erected from Kireka and neighboring areas in a bid to enhance security, sources said.