The United Kingdom has warned that terrorists could carry out an attack in Uganda, but police say there is no need to elevate the threat levels.
In a statement on Thursday, the UK government called on their nationals to be extremely vigilant about their security “especially in crowded and public places like hotels, transport hubs, restaurants and bars, and during major gatherings like sporting or religious events”.
“Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners. UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack,” the statement reads.
Uganda Police spokesman Fred Enanga confirmed the presence of sleeper cells in the country, adding that efforts to dismantle them are ongoing.
“Despite the emerging sleeper cells our terror alert levels are not elevated yet,” Mr Enanga said.
Although the UK did not mention which terrorist group is behind the threat, Uganda security agencies recently accused the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebels of attempting to carry out terror attacks.
The Ugandan ADF militia has operated in the restive eastern Democratic Republic of Congo since 1996.
Last week, security agents shot dead a suspected ADF rebel, Hamid Nsubuga, 25, alias Young Midu, in Kampala. He was allegedly planning to assassinate a local politician.
Police said the deceased and another, currently under detention, first attempted to bomb mourners at the burial of former Deputy Inspector General of Police, Lt Gen Paul Lokech, in Pader District, in August.
The UK terror alert could negatively affect Uganda’s tourism sector, which has already been battered by the Covid-19-induced lockdown and other restrictions since 2020.
At least 35,000 tourists from the UK visit Uganda every year. Uganda’s annual tourist arrivals had been increasing to more than 1.5 million before the coronavirus pandemic.
On July 11, 2010, al-Shabaab terrorists set off two bombs at Kyadondo Rugby Club and the Ethiopia Village Restaurant in Kabalagala, Kampala, killing at least 70 people and injuring dozens.
Since then, security agencies have been issuing terror alert warnings nearly twice every year.
Other than assassinations of politicians and sheikhs, no major attack has been carried out in Uganda since then.