By Francis Kagolo & Aisha Naiga
KAMPALA - The Ugandan government has assured tourists and investors of security saying Uganda is now safe from border to border.
Gen. Aronda Nyakairima, the minister for internal affairs, said the tribal clashes that caused tension in the Rwenzori region earlier this month have since ended and over 400 attackers given amnesty.
“The Government of Uganda wishes to ensure Ugandans, regional and international tourists coming to visit Uganda that it is safe, secure and well protected,” Gen. Aronda said.
Internal Affairs minister Gen. Aronda Nyakairima addressed a press conference in Kampala. PHOTO/Mary Kansiime
“We wish to assure that their stay in the Pearl of Africa is secured and out of any harm’s way. Our armed forces, police and intelligence are on full alert in all public places and tourist attractions to ensure that tourists continue enjoying our pristine destination.”
The minister made the assurance while addressing journalists at the Media Center in Kampala on Friday.
Tourism contributes greatly to Uganda’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) every year. The country earned over $805m (about sh2,012.5b) in 2012.
Tourists enjoying a spectacular view of a herd of buffaloes at Kidepo Valley National Park
This hippopotamus having a dip in the cool waters inside Kidepo
A kob takes off some time to relax on a hot day at Semliki National Park
Dr. Andrew Sseguya, the executive director of the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), said security in national parks was strengthened several years back which explains safety of tourists experienced in the recent years.
“Rwenzori, Queen Elizabeth, and Semliki national parks are all in the Rwenzori region where the tribal clashes were. But we have not recorded any incident inside the parks thanks to tight security,” Sseguya said.
According to Sseguya, security in national parks comprises of UWA rangers, tourism Police, and a section of the army which has been incorporated in UWA rangers.
There have been assurances of security within national parks, with routine patrols being the order of the day
Uganda is known for her Mountain Gorillas, which are tucked away in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Each national park also has a UPDF detach as well as intelligence officers from the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI).
“We have plenty of rangers to escort each tourist. They should feel free to come any time.”
The officials were reacting to reports about the safety of the country coming from sections of the media and foreign missions in Uganda.
“There have been some false travel advisories from a section of embassies accredited to Uganda. This should end because the country is safe,” said Stephen Asiimwe, the chief executive officer of the Uganda Tourism Board.
A mountain climber treks up Mt. Muhavura in Kisoro
And here, an adventurer stands near a crater on top of Mt Muhavura
A breathtaking view of the Mt. Muhavura
Besides the mountain gorillas and other key attractions in the national parks, this year’s key tourism activities include celebrations to mark 50 years of Kidepo Valley National Park where citizens will be accorded free entrance to the park on February 28.
Other activities include the Miss Tourism East Africa pageant. Uganda is also slated to host the Africa Travel Association congress in November.
Two crested cranes perched on tree branches on a beautiful day
Tourists take a dip in the pool at Apoka Lodge with a spectular backdrop of relief, fauna and flora
WHAT ARE THEY UP TO? These okapis seem to be engaged in communication only they can understand!
On the road to Queen Elizabeth National Park
A tourism information Centre at the entrance of the Batwa trail in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
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Government assures tourists on security