Police in Uganda Announce “very robust” Security Measures ahead of Martyrs’ Day

A police van stationed at road leading to Namugongo Shrine in Uganda’s Kampala Archdiocese. Credit: Courtesy Photo

The police in Uganda announced “very robust” security measures ahead of the annual June 3 Martyrs’ Day pilgrimage at Namugongo Shrine in Kampala Archdiocese.

Addressing journalists on Monday, May 29, Uganda Police Spokesperson, Fred Enanga said, “Our level of preparedness remains very robust, with task teams camped at all the venues.” 

Mr. Enanga added, “We have fully mapped out the area, for hotspots and other high-risk targets, and put up tactical response teams in place.”

“Our cyber and ICT teams have installed CCTV cameras and deployed unmanned aerial vehicles to monitor the conduct and movements of pilgrims,” he said.

According to the Uganda Police Spokesperson, the Police Air Wing and Uganda People's Defence Force (UPDF) will “jointly conduct aerial surveillance, to watch the movements of pilgrims and any suspicious behavior.”


As a security precaution, he said, “aerosols, ammunitions, animals other than police K9, backpacks exceeding size restrictions, bicycles, balloons, UAVs like drones other than for security, firearms, glass thermos, metallic containers, pepper, spray and any other items determined to be a potential hazard, to the public event” will be prohibited from entry into the venues.

“As seen in the past and across the globe, attacks can happen anytime and anyplace without warning. At this stage, there are no credible threats directed towards the Martyrs' Day Celebration,” he said.

However, he continued, “we do call upon all pilgrims, well-wishers and faith-based tourists, to remain vigilant and extra alert while at any of the venues.”

“We encourage everyone to carry their ID, or another identification document, keep an eye on their personal belongings like wallets, and mobile phones, be wary of strangers, avoid leaving elders or children alone, inform family and friends about where they are etc,” Enanga added.

The Police Spokesperson also urged pilgrims “to make adjustments in their movements and other daily routines.”

More in Africa

On his part, Kampala Metropolitan Traffic Police commander, Rogers Kawuma Nsereko said that the Traffic Management Plan would take effect from 3 a.m. on Saturday, June 3 and end at 4 p.m. the same day.

Mr. Kawuma said, “Different stickers have been issued to vehicles and motorcycles carrying VIPs and VVIPs that will allow them access the Catholic and Anglican Church shrines at Namugongo.”

“We won't permit vehicles to travel from Naalya to the side of Namugongo. All roads feeding Kyaliwajala-Naalya road will be used to travel to the Northern Bypass, but not the other way around,” he added during the May 29 press conference.

The Traffic Police Commander further said, “Drivers with red stickers should use Ssemambo Road to enter Uganda Martyrs Secondary School and reach the playground at Namugongo Girls Primary School, following the traffic Police's instructions.”

“Visitors bearing blue stickers will be dropped at Kyalijala junction and instructed to walk to the shrine; while their cars will be parked at Vienna College,” he further said, and added, “Green stickers will be displayed on the windscreen of all medical vehicles and ambulances.”


"Purple tags must be worn by anyone supplying anything to the Catholic Shrine and entry will be prohibited after June 3, 2023, at midnight,” Mr. Kawuma said.

Without stickers, “no motorcyclists or vehicles will be permitted to use any of the cut-off routes,” the Traffic Commander said, and continued, “There will be no parking for the general public at both Catholics and Anglican sites.”

The Uganda Martyrs’ Day dates back to the first decade of Christian presence in the East African nation when 45 men aged between 14 to 50 years were killed because of their faith by the King of Buganda between 31 January 1885 and 27 January 1887.

Among the 45 were 22 Catholics beatified in 1920 and canonized in 1964 who continue to promote Catholic life in the country and also play an important role in constructing a Catholic identity globally.

Namugongo shrine is one of the popular sites on the Northeast edge of the Kampala Metropolitan See that hosts a modernist basilica church whose altar is above the place where the martyrs' pyre is believed to have been.

(Story continues below)

ACI Africa was founded in 2019. We provide free, up-to-the-minute news affecting the Catholic Church in Africa, giving particular emphasis to the words of the Holy Father and happenings of the Holy See, to any person with access to the internet. ACI Africa is proud to offer free access to its news items to Catholic dioceses, parishes, and websites, in order to increase awareness of the activities of the universal Church and to foster a sense of Catholic thought and culture in the life of every Catholic.