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Hotels Raise Security Levels After Bomb Attacks

Security checks at Sheraton Hotel

There is a marked increase in the security measures around Kampala’s main public places like malls and high-end hotels, following two bomb explosions in the capital in two days.

Hotels and restaurants are known to be among the main targets for terrorist attacks in East Africa, apart from buses and markets.

Security measures were last heightened after the bomb attacks in 2010 that left at least 70 people dead.

Since then, it has been an on-and off affair with operators of such facilities responding to government directives when authorities deem the security risk to be high.

Generally, however, there has a marked laxity in the security measures, including how the entrances are manned.

The situation was further aggravated by the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, when the focus was shifted on to the Standard Operating Procedures issued by the ministry of health to contain the spread.

This saw security manning the gates take on the duty of enforcing these SOPs especially taking of visitor temperature records and ensuring they sanitise their hands.

It then became common, unlike before, for one to go past the checkpoint at the entrance without a body check, or checking of handbags by the gate security.

Following the events over the last two days, there is a noticeable increase in the security measures and the vigilance of the security personnel at the entrances of hotels.

At Hotel Protea, Kampala on Tuesday, security guards were asking the motorists entering the hotel to not only open their car doors, but also the car boot for a look around, before continuing to the parking lot.

For pedestrians, at the second gate the security is more interested in enforcing the Covid-19 SOPs provided the guest goes through the walk-through metal detector.

A guest declared their mobile phone and were let through despite the metal detector giving off an alarm.

At the Sheraton, Serena and Africana hotels, the security personnel at the gate even scan the vehicles for any suspicious objects, using the under car inspection mirror, while the drivers are made to move out for a body check through the walk-through metal detector.

However, at Africana, Pedestrians are only checked at the entrance to the hotel building where they declare their pocket contents and walk through the metal detector. The alarm made by the metal detector did not prompt any further checks on the visitors.

However, at Africana and the Sheraton, the check on the cars are a little more thorough as the security personnel try to look around in the interior of the vehicle.

On the other hand, at the Oasis Mall, an upscale shopping centre, the checks were more relaxed, with the drivers being asked to lower their car windows, and hardly any having their car boots opened. This is perhaps due to the big number of cars entering the mall.

About a week before the bomb attacks, the UK government had warned its citizens in Uganda of a likely terrorist attack. “You should be vigilant at all times, especially in crowded areas and public places like hotels, transport hubs, restaurants and bars, and during major gatherings like sporting or religious events. Previous terrorist attacks and disrupted attacks in Uganda have targeted the security forces and places where football matches were being viewed”, the statement said.

URN

One thought on “Hotels Raise Security Levels After Bomb Attacks

  1. The hotel management should always be vigilant.

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