Police tightens road security for pilgrims trekking to Namugongo
Fred Enanga, the police spokesperson, said a large number of pilgrims are expected to walk long distances from parts of the country and neighboring countries including the DRC, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, and South Sudan. FILE PHOTO

As part of preparations for Martyrs’ Day celebrations next month, IGP Martin Okoth Ochola has instructed all territorial commanders to ensure the safety and security of pilgrims trekking along various roads.

The Inspector-General of Police Martin Okoth Ochola has instructed all territorial commanders to ensure the safety and security of pilgrims trekking along various roads ahead of Martyrs’ Day celebrations next month.

Every 3rd June, the popular religious pilgrimage of the Uganda Martyrs at Namugongo, is celebrated. Unlike the last two years that were the event was celebrated virtually due to Covid19, this year’s event is set to be held openly.

The religious event like before will openly take place, with thousands of pilgrims, faith-based tourists and well-wishers expected to participate in the event.

In a statement on behalf of the IGP, Fred Enanga the police spokesperson said many pilgrims are expected to trek on foot covering long distances from different parts of the country, and the neighbouring countries of the DRC, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan. 

As a result, he said the IGP has implored that all officers must provide safety to these groups and also help them, identify habitable places for sleeping, especially at schools, places of worship and community centres, restrict movement under the cover of darkness, identify those who cannot endure the journey, for medical attention among others.

Ochola indicated that so far, they have closely policed the movement of pilgrims from Lira Diocese with more teams from West- Nile, Masaka, Fort Portal, Mbarara, Soroti, and Mbale among others also expected.

“We further urge the pilgrims to carry warm clothing, a few basic items, their identification documents, mobile phones, light bags to avoid wasting energy with heavy loads,” Ochola said.

“It is also advisable that team leaders and individual pilgrims reserve transport money on them, since the return journey is usually not by foot. And while in Kampala, we urge the pilgrims and all well-wishers, especially new comers, to be vigilant and cautious while going through the heavy traffic, and to further guard against criminals who target phones and other valuables.”

In addition, he wished all pilgrims a safe journey to Namugongo, as they walk to renew their faith and fulfil their religious obligations.

Ochola also thanks the Chief organizers from Fort Portal Diocese, for issuing safety guidelines to all pilgrims trekking on foot and restricting it to able-bodied persons of 16 years and above.