Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa has urged the government to assure Ugandans about the safety of tourists. This plea comes in the aftermath of an attack by suspected Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebels, resulting in the tragic death of two tourists from the United Kingdom and South Africa, alongside their tour guide.
Tayebwa emphasized the need for the country to remain focused and avoid declaring itself insecure despite the unfortunate incident. He remarked, “We hope that with this incident, we do not lose focus as a country and declare ourselves as if we are insecure. I have seen it happen in other countries but the way we handle it as a country matters most.”
Following the Deputy Speaker’s communication during the plenary sitting on Wednesday, October 18, 2023, the Minister for Security, Hon. Jim Muhwezi, presented a statement on behalf of President Yoweri Museveni.
According to the President, the attack occurred in Queen Elizabeth National Park on the Katwe-Kabatooro road. Museveni described the perpetrators as a small group of terrorists “running away from our operations in Congo.” He condemned the act as cowardly, particularly for attacking innocent civilians, and expressed sympathy for the newlywed couple who were on their honeymoon in Uganda. Museveni assured, “Of course, these terrorists will pay with their own wretched lives.”
The President directed the UPDF, Uganda Police, and Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) to prevent such incidents from occurring again and to eradicate the ADF. He acknowledged the efforts made in neutralizing the ADF but identified gaps in handling remnants. Museveni noted that UWA guards tourists in the park but does not provide an escort for their exit.
He also shared insights into the tracking methods employed by the UPDF, stating, “The UPDF has been using one form of tracking these fugitive groups from Congo, by following their tracks. There are more reliable ways of tracking, which we have discussed with the army.” Museveni expressed confidence that the terrorists would be defeated, drawing parallels with past successful operations against insurgent groups.
Additionally, the President disclosed that the High Commission in the UK has been instructed to reach out to the families of the victims to provide necessary support. He concluded by commending the efforts of the wanainchi, the Police, and other agencies in preventing potential attacks in other locations.