In the face of increasing Somali based militants, Al Shabaab attacks on East Africa, Uganda has resolved to crack down on sports betting firms in the country.
The deputy Resident City Commissioner Makindye division, Henry Kitambula, says security has started a campaign to crack down, confiscate machines and arrest owners of betting companies operating illegally.
Kitambula was speaking last Friday at the popular Pan-African Live Debate held at Fairway hotel in Kampala and moderated by Red Pepper marketer, Andrew Irumba.
He said most of the sports betting centres are licensed only for betting but they go ahead to show matches attracting crowds that terrorists can easily target.
“We currently have a terror threat and the crowding in these places worsens the situation.”
Citing the Al Shabaab attack on Garissa university in Kenya that left 148 people dead, Kitambula insisted that betting poses a security threat.
“We don’t want what happened in Kenya to happen here. We shall arrest those implicated in the vice.”
He said sports betting centres increase the possibility of crime saying they have already started investigating them.
Aronda warns prisons on terror
Yesterday, the Internal Affairs minister, Gen Aronda Nyakairima, asked prisons personnel to train their officers and prepare them for the possible attacks by extremists.
Aronda who also doubles as the Chairperson of National Security was officiating at the African correctional services association meeting.
He said told security to stay alert and beat extremists in case they attempt an attack to flee their colleagues incarcerated over charges of terrorism.
It was also revealed that Uganda was ranked 9th in the Africa with highest number of inmates with Tanzania having the least in the East African region.
Police speaks on terror
Deputy police spokesperson, SSP Polly Namaye, told us on phone that many children are being indoctrinated and recruited into terror activities.
She cited the case of a law student from Kenya who planned the Garissa massacre.
While agreeing that terrorists have enough money to give out to anybody, Namaye said some of these students come from rich families.
“It’s about ideology.”
While appearing on Urban TV this week, Namaye said police discovered that last year, four Kampala University Bushenyi branch medical students were arrested on suspicion of being involved in terror acts.
She said police was working with all security agencies to crack down on terror of all forms.
She said they were also looking at revamping the boda boda society and getting 30 crime presenters from every village.
“We have credible information that the Al Shabaab are planning to attack Uganda. We are creating policies where informants are protected.”
Uganda has so far issued two terror alerts in a space of weeks.
Security exerts speak
Appearing on Urban TV too, David Pulkol, a security expert asked security agencies to remain engaged to curtail (terrorism) saying “Bin Laden is dead but AlQaeda is still with us”.
He said in recent times, the back of Al Shabaab was broken but they returned and trained thousands more insurgents.
“There are foreign trainers that are working with Al Shabaab. East Africa is under target.”
“They try to take advantage of mishaps in our country (for recruitment)”
Pulkol said government had not put enough funds to boost security.
While appearing on NBS TV’s Morning Breeze, Mr Freddie Egesa, a security analyst agreed that what is affecting our intelligence is that people are not sure about who to trust with the information for fear of such information leaking to the criminal and the likely outcome.
According to Egesa, the guards in Uganda have their own social issues like poor payment on top of mediocre training, something that makes them to take their work unserious.
“Uganda may have the best laws but without better minds to implement them, they are useless. To improve on the intelligence in this country, the Uganda police should establish a centre where Ugandans can report security related information with confidence.”