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Kalangala On High Tension Over Terror Threats

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MV Kalangala

By Gad Masereka

Due to terror concerns, security has been increased at boarding stations of public transport water vessels that operate between Masaka district and the Kalangala Islands on Lake Victoria.

At least a dozen armed security personnel, including police and Uganda People’s Defense Force-UPDF troops, are stationed at both ferries loading points to ensure that all passengers are thoroughly checked before being allowed on board.

Kalangala Infrastructure Services-KIS limited, a private enterprise contracted by the government under the public-private partnership framework, operates two cargo and passenger boats on the Masaka mainland to Kalangala route.

At the moment, security personnel have set up two tight checkpoints on either side of the ferry docking stations at Bukakata, on the Masaka side, and Luku, on the Bugala main island, on the Kalangala district side.

Moses Mugerwa, who runs a kiosk in Bukakata a few meters from the docking station, says the unprecedented security deployment in the area began approximately a week ago. He goes on to say that the army has enhanced monitoring in the area and that private boats that used to transport passengers between Kalangala and Masaka have been suspended.

“We’ve always had private guards and ferry workers inspecting and registering passengers before they’re let aboard.” “However, the army recently arrived and took over the roles, erecting blockades and tyre spikes in the road to begin manning the security of this location,” he claims.

The deployment was prompted by high-level intelligence concerning terror threats in the area, according to Apollo Mugume, the Kalangala Resident District Commissioner and Chairperson of the District Security Committee.

During a public meeting in Bugoma village, security officials stated that they had received reports of possible subversive acts being planned by bad elements who intend to use vessels on Lake Victoria.

According to Francis Kaweesi, a private fishing boat operator at the Bukakata landing spot, the army has just prohibited them from transporting any passengers across the lake. He claims that at first, boat operators would profit from passengers who were dropped off by the ferry, but that this is currently not viable.

The operations, according to Masaka District Police Commander Moses Nanoka, are designed to safeguard the area following intelligence reports of possible terror acts. He urged the public to be more vigilant and to work with security officials by reporting any questionable individuals in their neighborhoods.

However, Major Ninsiima Lwemijuma, a spokesperson for the UPDF Armoured Brigade headquarters in Kisijjagirwa, Masaka, claims that their presence at the ferry landing locations and in the seas is part of their usual activities in carrying out their duty of defending the country.

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