Traders in Kikuubo a city trading centre are expressing concern over a decline in sales due to intensified security checkups by the police in response to the UK terror alert. Security chiefs have implemented rigorous operations in downtown Kampala, particularly in the Kikuubo business area, to prevent any potential terrorist incidents by conducting thorough checks on individuals entering the area. However, business owners in Kikuubo report a decrease in customer numbers as people are reluctant to visit the area due to the inconvenience caused by police checkups. All entrances to Kikuubo have been blocked, requiring traders and customers to use main entrances where police have stationed metal detector machines to screen everyone accessing the premises.
Both the police and the army are conducting checks on vehicles delivering goods to Kikuubo, inspecting their contents. Sniffer dogs have also been deployed to inspect larger luggage items entering the area. Bashir Muwonge, the chairman of Kikuubo, stated that the security operation in their area aims to protect the business community from potential attacks.
Muwonge urged traders to cooperate with security personnel to prevent any incidents of terrorism.
However, Umar Kalungi, a trader selling scholastic materials, lamented that the police operation has led to a decrease in the number of customers visiting Kikuubo. Some customers have chosen to buy from alternative locations in Kampala to avoid the inconvenience of security checks. Kalungi noted that his daily sales have significantly decreased since the police started conducting checks.
Traders expressed their concern that the security checks are focused only on Kikuubo, while other crowded places in Kampala, such as St. Balikudembe Market and Nakasero Market could also be potential targets for terrorists. Don Ronald Birungi, another trader, mentioned that the reduced number of customers has significantly impacted their earnings.
Interestingly, the intensified security checks in Kikuubo are not reflected in the Kampala arcades, where large numbers of people gather. There are no checks at the entrances of arcades such as Gazaland, Qualicell, Mini Price (located near Kikuubo), Mukwano Arcade, and Namaganda Arcade, among others.
Patrick Onyango, the Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesperson, acknowledged that a security meeting was held with arcade owners, advising them to implement security measures and conduct checks on individuals entering their arcades. He also suggested utilizing security companies, which the owners already pay to guard their buildings, to avoid additional expenses.
Onyango further mentioned that areas like taxi parks and markets, which require additional police manpower, will soon receive the necessary attention and resources.