The Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Okoth Ochola has instructed all territorial commanders to ensure the safety and security of pilgrims heading to Namugongo for Martyrs Day celebrations.
This year 3rd June, the popular religious pilgrimage of the Uganda Martyrs at Namugongo will be celebrated following the full re-opening of the economy and the massive reduction in COVID-19 in the country.
It is, therefore, the first time since 2019, that the religious event will openly take place, with thousands of pilgrims, faith-based tourists and well-wishers expected to participate in the event.
As per the religious tradition, many pilgrims are expected to trek on foot covering long distances from different parts of the country, and from the neighboring countries of the DRC, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan.
“They must help them, identify habitable places for sleeping, especially at schools, places of worship and community centres, restrict movement under the cover of darkness, identify those who cannot endure the journey, for medical attention etc,” said Ochola in a statement released by CP Enanga Fred, Police Spokesperson.
“So far, we have closely policed the movement of pilgrims from Lira Diocese, and expect more teams from West- Nile, Masaka, Fort portal, Mbarara, Soroti, Mbale etc.”
He urged the pilgrims to carry warm clothing, a few basic items, their identification documents, mobile phones, light bags to avoid wasting energy with heavy loads.
“It is also advisable that team leaders and individual pilgrims reserve transport money on them since the return journey is usually not by foot. And while in Kampala, we urge the pilgrims and all well-wishers, especially newcomers, to be vigilant and cautious while going through the heavy traffic, and to further guard against criminals who target phones and other valuables. We wish all pilgrims a safe journey to Namugongo, as they walk to renew their faith and fulfill their religious obligations.”
He added: “We also thank the Chief organizers from Fort portal Diocese, for issuing safety guidelines to all pilgrims trekking on foot and restricting it to able-bodied persons of 16 years and above. For any further information, please call the National Operations room at Police headquarters on 0707600773 /0776999135 or 0800199699.”