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June 13, 2024
Kampala Daily
News

Martyrs Day: UPDF Commandos Deployed at Namugongo

UPDF has deployed a team of heavily-armed commandos from the Special Forces Command to reinforce rapid response combat units providing security at the Catholic and Anglican Martyrs shrines in Namugongo ahead of Martyrs Day celebrations on June 3, 2024.

Officials said the specialised force with modern surveillance equipment will “be on standby to counter any terrorist threat” at the celebrations which have attracted thousands of people from across the world.

Kampala Metropolitan Police Deputy Spokesperson Luke Owoyesigyire said a comprehensive response unit has been established, “including: Bomb Squad, Counter Terrorism Units, Field Force Unit for crowd control, UPDF Air Force, Special Forces and Police Airwing.”

He added: “These measures are in place to counter any eventualities and ensure the safety of all pilgrims and invited guests.”

The Inspector General of Police (IGP) has since instructed all territorial commanders to ensure the safety and security of pilgrims within their jurisdictions.

“Pilgrims are being escorted and protected at churches, schools, and community centres where they rest,” said Owoyesigyire.

Pilgrims from neighbouring countries and various districts have already begun arriving in Namugongo.

“No incidents of crime or safety concerns have been reported. Pilgrims are steadily trekking on foot to Kampala, and we are ensuring their safety. Movements are restricted during night and early morning hours to prevent road accidents and identify those needing medical attention,” said police.

Safety

“Police and Ministry of Health ambulances are deployed on all major highways and at Namugongo for emergency response and medical evacuation. Pilgrims are advised to stay with your group and draw strength from the spiritual journey. Due to unpredictable weather, carry warm clothing, IDs, mobile phones, light bags, reflectors, and ensure transport arrangements for your return. Be vigilant in heavy traffic and protect valuables from criminals and fraudsters.”

Dennis Obbo, 19, a pilgrim from Nebbi, said he was “so relieved and satisfied” after a long trek to Namugongo.

“I feel spiritually fulfilled after covering this long journey on foot,” he told us.

Police appealed to the public, especially local residents along the pilgrimage routes and in Namugongo, to be welcoming and supportive of the pilgrims.

“Witnesses or victims of crime should report to the nearest police station at Nakiyanja or Namugongo, or approach any nearby officer.”

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