President Yoweri Museveni has blamed the killing of two foreign tourists and their Ugandan driver on lapses by the security forces in protecting the guests, but also on outdated intelligence techniques.
Museveni’s comments came on the heels of the latest attack that left two foreign tourists and their Ugandan driver death. The terrorists ambushed the tourists along the katungulu-Mweya-Katwe road in Queen Elizabeth national park in Kasese district. They also burnt their vehicle.
Museveni said leaders from security forces and Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) had met following the tragic incidents, perhaps to address the gaps. He however did not come out on what measures they would adopt to close the gaps.
Museveni said: “There were a few gaps in the handling of these remnants. UWA was guarding tourists once they were in the Park. However, apparently, the tourists were arriving and departing individually. It is this gap that they used.
Secondly, the UPDF has been using one form of tracking these fugitive groups from Congo, Kufuata Nyayo- following their tracks (ekisinde, ekirari). There are more reliable ways of tracking, which we have discussed with the Army.”
Museveni mourned the loss of lives of the newly-wed couple that had come to Uganda for their honeymoon. He said Uganda’s High Commission in the UK will reach out to the families of the deceased to offer any support necessary.
He further promised to pursue the killers to ensure ‘they pay with their lives,’ but also directed security forces to ensure that such as an incident does not re-occur.
“Of course, these terrorists will pay with their own wretched lives. However, killing these wretched individuals will not bring back the lives of these wonderful friends of Uganda who had chosen our country for their honeymoon out of the 193 Countries of the world. Our High Commission in the UK will reach out to their families and provide whatever support is necessary in this tragic situation.
“More importantly, the UPDF, the Police, the UWA and Intelligence should ensure these mistakes do not happen again and that ADF is wiped out. The wiping out is moving very well. What needs to be done is to ensure that the remnants do not commit these atrocities.”
The killing of tourists comes less than a week since another attack on civilians was carried out by suspected ADF rebels on civilians near Uganda’s border with D.R. Congo.
During that attack the terrorists burst a truck that was transporting onions towards the D.R.C, they also killed two people from a passenger taxi and injured several others.
The latest attack is of grave significance to the Uganda’s fragile economy because it hits one of the most important sectors – the tourism sector that was only recovering from the COVID-19 downturn.
Following the killing of her citizens, the United Kingdom issued travel warnings for Uganda.
Although the UPDF spokesperson Brig. Felix Kulaigye issued a statement in which he tried to reassure the tourism industry that this was an isolated incident, the war against the ADF rebels in D.R Congo by the UPDF is likely to provide a constant source of fear for tourists.
Added to this are the other loopholes such as alleged cases of corruption that allows bad elements to smuggle goods and even people to either side of the border.
Our source intoned that: “Many people exploit the soldiers desire for money to smuggle things across the border. As long as someone has money, they can find a way to make illegal movements.”