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Kabale Bus Operators Yet to Take Terror Alerts Seriously

Kabale bus operators are yet to heed police calls for increased security awareness. Police issued a directive on 26th April calling on all places where people gather to ensure there is security screening. The call was due to terror alert warnings. No steps have been taken for passenger safety in the public transportation areas though.
Kibungo bus prepares to leave Kabale for Kampala

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Kabale bus operators are yet to comply with a police directive to screen passengers with metal detectors.

 

The police directive is aimed at preventing a terror attack on passengers.

 

Police first issued the directive after the July 11, 2010 terror attacks on Kampala.

 

Police recently re-echoed the need for enhanced security precautions at all places where people gather. The call was made on 26th April. 

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But Kabale bus operators are yet to follow up seriously on the directive

 

Kabale is at the centre of business linking hosting travellers to Rwanda, Burundi and Democratic Republic of Congo. The town daily attracts hundreds of passengers heading to Kampala, Kigali, Goma and Bujumbura.

 

However, there are next to no safety measures taken to ensure terrorists do not strike.  The lack of security consciousness by the bus operators has not gone down well with the passengers.

 

Happiness Kyokwijuka, a resident of Northern Division in Kabale municipality, says that the bus operators only seem to care about collecting money from the passengers. He says he has personally observed a casual attitude to passenger safety by the operators.

 

Kyokwijuka says that he was surprised when he travelled from Kabale to Mbarara on Monday 6th May 2013 without witnessing any security check. He says that the passengers were able to enter the bus with their luggage without anyone checking it to ensure none of them was carrying material that might be dangerous.

 

Vanansio Byamukama, a resident of Central -Central Ward in central division in Kabale Municipality, says he has heard about the police directive. He has not seen any indication that any of the bus operators is trying to implement the directive.

 

Our reporter visited Kabale Bus Park to find out whether security had been tightened. Instead of security checks, he was overwhelmed by brokers’ intent on getting him onto one of the buses.

 

Finally, one broker was able to get him on a bus. The reporter did not go through any security check and was left to settle on his seat number 27 in Kibungo bus. The reporter did not observe anyone vetting the passengers already on the bus before he disembarked.

 

James Kabagambe is the assistant manager at Bismarkan Coaches in Kabale District. He claims that the company has metal detectors. They do not use the detectors because passengers react negatively whenever they see them.

 

He claims the company was forced to stop insisting on using them because many passengers would opt for the bus company not using metal detectors.

 

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Kabale district Police commander Bosco Arop urges bus operators to act seriously on the directive. He says there is no way police can fight terrorism without the aid of stakeholders like the bus operators.

 

Arop says that the police have embarked on sensitizing the communities about the terror threats. He says Ugandans should not take it for granted that security agencies can do all the protecting on their own.

 

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