BY PEPPER INTELLIGENCE UNIT
A senior intelligence security officer has told Pepper Digital that it will take efforts—long, tough and complicated—to completely eliminate acts of terror on Ugandan soil. Col. Frank Kaka Bagyenda, the immediate former ISO boss and also NRA/NRM war historical, opines that the challenge is bigger than everyone thought. Why? The real trouble causers (read terror funders) are outside Uganda and whose country of origin is not clear. They could be from the region (East Africa Great Lakes, Africa) or outside Africa. They reportedly brag of being untouchable, powerful and unreachable. They are financially strong and have the capacity to hire hit men, train and equip them with an arsenal of weapons not limited to powerful guns and even poison.
Another dilemma, according to Kaka, is that these terror sponsors have recruited internally (within Uganda). He says if they were entirely foreign actors, it would be easier for GoU to identify, isolate and crush them.
But they have local collaborators or agents who understand all the local languages, villages, towns, ghettos, and streets hence becoming an internal problem. These are peasants, villagers, street and ghetto dwellers, bodas riders and others. The worst of all some are young Ugandans who have just been brainwashed. They are deeply into society which makes it easier for them to go undetected. Some pass as politicians and some are already facing charges in courts related to terror while others left politics but are operating underground.
Another dilemma, according to Kaka, is that the external terror funders have the capacity to arm-twist some rogue security officers here to work for them—hence an acronym People in Government Security (PIGS), or Kawuukumi.
Another challenge is that some perpetrators are operating along Uganda’s porous borders. They can easily board a bus from border areas, come to Kampala, cause mayhem and go back undetected. For instance, a suspected member of the Congo-based terror outfit Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) was recently removed from a bus leaving Kisoro district headed for Kampala. According to reports, the suspected terrorist was intercepted while carrying two heavy machine guns and five fully loaded magazines which are believed to have been carried for terror purposes. The weapons were concealed in a sack which also had Cassava. Police later learnt that it wasn’t cassava but only peelings to cover up the hidden weapons. The gunman had secured a slot on a bus belonging to Bismarkan Company. President Museveni, in his a statement, hours after twin bomb explosions in Kampala a week ago reiterated to crush these terrorists by extending the war beyond borders in collaboration with friendly neighbors like DRC.
ENEMY CAN BE DEFEATED
Whether long or short, the war against terror will be winnable. The best defence for Uganda, according to security, is citizens and visitors. Their weapons must be eyes and ears to look and listen intently. They must be vigilant enough to identify perpetrators in taxis, malls, streets and other areas. Some of key precautionary security measures include: 1.Public vigilance: Be on the look. If you see a suspicious person, or an abandoned package somewhere, alert the police. The police have given the public some pointers to help in identifying suspicious people. For example, a nervous parse avoiding contact with security or heading to a particular point. Generally, when you see someone struggling to blend in a suspicious way, don’t hesitate to alert police. The police numbers to call: 112, 999, 0800199699, and 080012229. They are all toll-free numbers.
2. Decongesting likely target areas:
Avoid crowds. It is easier to commit crime in a crowd. A compromised bomber can disguise as a hawker, street vendor or customer in a crowd on the street. 3.Vigilance with Taxis stages:
All taxi stages that are not gazetted should go off the streets with immediate effect. KCCA has a record of where Taxi stages should be. All these Taxis parking anywhere they want are capable of being used for terror. Even more importantly, the turn boy or conductor should be very vigilant. No one suspicious should approach a taxi and no one should stop into one without being checked.
4. Vigilance in Markets and Arcades:
We have to keep trading in our markets but we have to do it with vigilance. Let’s check every person attempting to enter the market places and the arcades.
5. Boda boda men: It is very heartbreaking to see someone struggling to earn from boda boda being killed in a bomb blast. Understand who you’re transporting on your motorcycle. Have a sense of judgment. And avoid congregating at stages in large numbers.
6. Let citizens cooperate with security heroes. We should not be scared to report at our workplaces. Avoid being idle in town. If you have come to do anything, do it and move on.
7. And avoid social media fake news scare mongers. 8. Every one of us is a possible target or victim of terrorism, let us fight this terrorism together. As a nation we have faced tougher times. We have fought and won harder battles. Even this shall come to pass.