Twin Bombing Anniversary: Where are we now?

Twin Bombing Anniversary: Where are we now?

Victims of the twin bombings in Kampala, among them police officers, have not been compensated as the country marks the first anniversary of the blasts, this publication can reveal.

The police and operators of public places have also abandoned the stringent measures instituted to prevent another terror attack.

On November 16 last year, suicide bombers detonated two explosives in Kampala, killing four people and injuring several others. Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attacks.

The first attack occurred near the checkpoint to the Central Police Station in Kampala at around 10am.  Police said the footage from the closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras showed the moment a man, wearing a black jacket and carrying a back pack, detonated the bomb.  He died instantly. Several police officers and civilians within a radius of 30 metres of the bomb were injured.

The second attack took place about three minutes later at Raja Chambers and Jubilee Insurance Building on Parliamentary Avenue.  According to police, the two bombers were reportedly travelling on motorcycles, disguised as boda boda riders.  They detonated the bomb they were carrying, killing them instantly. The explosions damaged several motor vehicles and buildings at both scenes of attack.

These attacks came 22 days after a bomb exploded on a Swift Safaris Bus.  It is also alleged that this was carriedout by a suicide bomber.

A police constable,  who was deployed at the Central Police Station Kampala at the time of bombings, but preferred anonymity for fear of being reprimanded, told this newspaper that he was only given Shs300,000 from the police management two days after the attacks.

He said the money was not enough to take care of the medical bills.

He added that police, together with Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, promised the police officers who were injured in the attacks that they would be compensated but they have yet to get this money.

He, however, said they received a token from President Museveni.

Another police constable, a driver who was also injured in the attacks, said although the police paid for his medical expenses, he was supposed to get Shs27 million but only got Shs10 million.

“I was told that the balance will be given in the second quarter, so I’m still waiting,” he said.

After the bomb blasts in November,  police issued security guidelines to prevent other attacks.

However, a mini survey conducted by this newspaper on all the security installations, revealed that most of the guidelines have since been abandoned.

For instance, public vehicles are allowed to park at or near some police stations, visitors are allowed to enter with bags without first being checked, visitors are not registered, contrary to what was issued in the guidelines.

As the country marks a year since the attacks, security agencies have cautioned the public to remain vigilant to ensure that other attacks do not occur.

Mr Enanga said police will today remember the four Ugandans, George Katana, Ismael Basibe, Sunday Christopher and Police Constable Amos Kungu who died in the attacks. Kungu was manning the checkpoint at Central Police Station Kampala on the fateful day.

Mr Enanga also noted that a total of 37 police officers were seriously injured in the attack and they are still recovering.

“We have continued to carry out counter terror operations, which shows our resolve to deal with terrorists. In these operations we have foiled several attacks, arrested 35 suspects and 23 of these have been charged in court, several improvised explosive devices recovered. We have dismantled several domestic Allied Democratic Force (ADF) cells,” he said.

He noted that security agencies are  still pursuing those involved in recruiting potential terrorists, financing terror and radicalising children.

In September, President Museveni extended financial support to 57 families who had lost loved ones or had relatives injured in the attacks.

The money was handed over to the families of the deceased by the State House Comptroller, Ms Jane Barekye, at a ceremony at Naguru police headquarters.

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