In order to protect and secure pilgrims travelling to Namugongo, Kampala, for Martyrs’ Day celebrations on June 3, the law enforcement body has ordered all territorial police to prohibit pilgrims passing through their jurisdictions from trekking at night.
“The IGP has directed all territorial commanders to ensure that safety and security of these pilgrims by escorting them and providing protection to them while sleeping at churches, schools and community centres and they should also ensure that no movement are done under the cover of darkness at night and even very early in the morning,” Police spokesperson Fred Enanga revealed to the press on Monday.
So far, pilgrims from neighbouring countries such as Kenya, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and South Sudan, as well as those from remote districts such as Gulu, Lira, and Fortportal, have begun trekking to Kampala for the holiday scheduled for next month, and they are being protected by joint security agencies.
According to Enanga, there are no incidents that have been reported in regard to their safety but urged all commanders to follow the Inspector general’s order to ensure that this year’s Martyrs Day is incident free.
He pointed out that previously police registered several tragic cases where pilgrims could wake up early like at 4am under the cover of darkness and some could be knocked dead by speeding cars while others could find other challenges like theft from criminal elements.
“We also ask pilgrims to identify those who can not endure the journey for medical reasons to notify police as the police medical services have put up ambulances along the major highways to ensure that those who are worn out are rescued,” he said.
Furthermore, pilgrims, particularly those from abroad and from upcountry, have been encouraged to travel in groups, to bring warm clothing due to the unpredictable weather, to keep their mobile phones charged, and to carry valid identification cards.
Police also noted that some of them carry heavy luggage which is not necessary hence advising them to bring light bags as well as have transport money back to their destinations since they can not trek again.
As usual, thousands of pilgrims are expected at this year’s Martyrs Day celebrations at Namugongo Catholic shrines and Nakiyanja Christian shrines respectively.