Uganda has heightened its terror alert to the maximum level following what police say are intelligence reports of a potentially imminent Islamist attack.
Security across Kampala has been stepped up amid warnings of a possible “Westgate-style attack” in the capital, a reference to last month’s assault on a shopping centre in neighbouring Kenya.
Security staff have been recalled from leave and thousands of extra police deployed across the city after the alert level was raised to red.
Acting on information from domestic and American sources, the authorities are protecting key sites.
“When they say it is like the Westgate scenario and we get it on our table, those are the areas we safeguard most. We do not stop at that, it can be diversionary so when know that it can be like the Westgate scenario we even extend (it) to worship places, churches, even to some congested areas,” said Uganda’s Deputy Inspector General of Police, Grace Turyagumanawe.
It is the first time the terror alert has been raised to maximum since bombs targeted crowds watching the 2010 football World Cup final.
The Al Shabaab attack killed 79 people, in reprisal for Uganda’s presence in Somalia. Its troops are there as part of an African Union force helping the UN-backed government fight Islamist extremists.