Last year, amid increasing warning of terror attack by Al Shabab, police deployed anti riot police in addition to security guards from Saracen Uganda Limited to check all passengers travelling to and from Kalangala using the ferry.
The lax in security on the Bukakata –Luku Ferry despite is raising concern among passengers who use the ferry.
Bukakata Luku Ferry carries over 300 passengers and more than 10 vehicles on a daily basis.
Last year, anti-riot police in addition to security guards from Saracen Uganda Limited were deployed on the ferries to check all passengers travelling to and from Kalangala. The deployment was in response to the terror threats.
Travelers were subjected to body and luggage checks using metal detectors. But these kinds of checks have long ceased, despite a new terror warning.
Dan Kigongo, a technician with Galooli Uganda Limited, an MTN sub contractor repairing masts, says he was able to travel to and from Kalangala without being checked. Kigongo they had about four huge bags and a small laptop bag but no security guard was there to scrutinise what they were carrying.
Kigongo says in addition to lack of screening of passengers, police and security guards do not register identities of passengers. He says this is very risky for the rest of passengers, because wrong elements are likely to escape and go untraced and hide to Kalangala islands.
Some other residents at Kachanga landing site have accused the policemen deployed at the ferry of spending most of the drinking alcohol instead of ensuring security at the ferry.
However, a Saracen security guard at the Ferry who declined to reveal his identities, said that policemen deployed at Kachanga landing site where the ferry docks removed the bomb detector and started checking people until recently when it suddenly stopped.
The security guard explains that they are now concentrating on guarding the passengers aboard the ferry against piracy since police maintains security at the landing site. When URN Visited Kachanga landing site on Thursday, some people were seen entering the ferry with unchecked luggage.
Three unidentified police officers simply looked on. One of the Police officer at Bukakata refused to speak about the suspension of checking and referred URN reporter to his boss in Masaka.
But Noah Sserunjogi, the Southern Region Police Spokesperson says police officers on duty at the both Kachanga landing site and Bugoma Island are under instructions to screen and check all passengers.
He says they are going to investigate and find out why the officers are no longer checking.
But Steven Sseninde, the Station Engineer UNRA Masaka which manages Bukakata-Luku ferry has denied the security laxity at the ferry. He has asked URN reporter a not to write any story about it because it is just a rumour with no evidence. He says UNRA hired police to guard to ensure security at the ferry.
Recently, Police warned Ugandans on a possible terror attack from Islamist Al Shabab days after a grade attack on a bus station in Nairobi killed six people injuring several.
# # #
bukakata ferry repairs
police officers abandon checking
passengers want more security