Police have a critical challenge in keeping perceived terrorists at bay: the expansive porous borders.
Twice in just a few months, at least 10 suspected terrorists have sneaked across the border into Uganda. Yesterday, Police announced they had upped the security alert, saying the force was hunting for five top international terror suspects, believed to have sneaked into the country early this week.
Deputy Police Spokesperson Vincent Sekate said they are hunting for Ali Salah Adan, Nam A. Amur, Abdullah Ahmed, Abderaouf Jdey and Mohaned Nor Ali, whom he described as foreign fighters boosting the Somalia based al-Shabab terror group, responsible for the 2010 twin terror attacks in Kampala.
"These are foreign fighters helping the al-Shabab and are behind all these bombings," Sekate said.
He said the suspects are on the international wanted-list and International police, Interpol, has been following them. He said Interpol alerted the local Police here that the terrorists "have entered the country or they are about to enter anytime."
According to Police, people should be alert and report any suspected criminals in their communities.
"People should be vigilant and report any suspicious people in the communities. Whoever has information should volunteer it to the Police because it is the only way we can avoid these people [terrorists] and have them arrested," Sekate said.
Police plan to pin posters of the terrorists' images all over the country so that people can identify them in the communities they are hiding. In June last year, other terror suspects entered into the country who included Ahmed Khaled Andreas, Martin Muller and Emrah Erdogan Alias Imraan AL-Kurdy alias Salahaddin AL-Kurdy, and they are still hunted by Police. They were described as foreign fighters working for the Somalia-based al-Shabab terror group.
Sekate said Uganda remains on high terror alert, owing to the threats security agencies have been receiving from terrorist groups. He said terrorists target mainly crowded places and those frequented by foreigners. Meanwhile, he revealed that police would seek legal advice on how to close public places with lax security measures.
Sekate urged proprietors of hotels, night clubs, restaurants, entertainment centres, bars and show grounds to institute security measures or risk closure. The al-Shabab militants, who merged with al-Qaeda earlier this year, have been claiming responsibility for most bomb attacks in Uganda and, of recent, Kenya. The two countries are being targeted for volunteering peacekeeping troops in Somalia that have reclaimed most areas originally held by al-Shabab.
Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania have experienced terror attacks since 1998 in which scores of people have died.