Archive for Uganda
Ugandan authorities have uncovered a “terrorist cell” run by the Somali militant Islamist group al Shabaab, which they believe was planning an imminent attack, the U.S. Embassy in Uganda said on Saturday. “At this point we are not aware of specific targets, and the Ugandan authorities have increased security at key sites, including Entebbe International Airport,” the embassy said in a statement on its website. Uganda, as one of the countries that contribute forces to an African Union peacekeeping mission battling al Shabaab in Somalia, has suffered militant attacks in recent years, and al Shabaab has threatened more. The U.S. Embassy, shortly before issuing its announcement, told its citizens, in a message posted on Twitter, to stay at home or proceed to a safe location while Ugandan authorities completed operations against a suspected cell in Kampala.
The Ugandan embassy in Mogadishu has just started the issuance of the visas to Uganda. In the past people in Somalia who wanted to travel to Uganda used to face challenges in getting visas to Uganda. Therefore, the embassy started the processing of the visas for students, families, business people and patients who want to travel to Uganda for different purposes. The Ugandan embassy in Mogadishu issues visas to at least 30 people per day. In the past, people traveled all the way to Entebe airport where they were given the visas on arrival. Most of the people who travel to Uganda are students who want to study at the universities of Uganda and people who get resettlement in European countries, USA, Canada and Australia. Those who get the resettlement processes go to Uganda to wait their flights to those countries while inside Uganda.
A website of Uganda’s Foreign Mission in Germany is totally different from that of Ottawa, Canada. The official E-mail address of the Ambassador of Uganda to Italy, is at Hotmail dot com (firstname.lastname@example.org ), and that of the Ambassador to Washington DC is dot org (email@example.com) The domain names are chaotic. While the Embassy in Washington uses dot com (http://www.ugandaembassy.com) for the website the staff E-mails have dot org. The domain name for China is dot org (http://www.ugaembassycn.org/) and that of Germany uses dot de (http://www.uganda.de/). The High Commission to UK has a totally different domain name; dot co dot uk (http://www.ugandahighcommission.co.uk/). The website of Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ has no connections to the foreign missions websites whatsoever, because it uses dot go dot ug (http://www.mofa.go.ug). And until recently, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website had Kenyan colours; green, black and red. One would automatically think, all government ministries and foreign missions should have similar domain names like that of Ministry of Foreign Affairs (dot go dot ug).
A day after the announcement of heightened security measures on United States-bound flights, the American Embassy in Uganda said it had been warned of a “specific threat” of attack to the country’s main airport and said travelers “may want to review their plans.” The warning was one of several recent alarms in restive East Africa, where governments have sought to counter threats, particularly those by the Shabab militant movement based in Somalia. The embassy did not specify what the threat entailed, but said it had received information from the Uganda Police Force that, according to intelligence sources, “there is a specific threat to Entebbe International Airport,” which serves the capital, Kampala, 25 miles away. The warning, in a statement on the embassy’s website, said the attack could take place between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. on Thursday. That period elapsed without any reported incident. “U.S. Embassy Kampala wishes to remind U.S. citizens of the continued threat of potential terrorist attacks in the country,” the statement said. “The targets for these attacks could include hotels, restaurants, nightclubs, shopping malls, diplomatic missions, transportation hubs, religious institutions, government offices or public transportation.”
Senior diplomatic sources in Khartoum confirmed reports that Sudan’s ambassador to Uganda, Adil Hussein Sharfi, has abandoned his position and left to London. Several pro-opposition websites claimed that Sharfi plans to apply for political asylum in the United Kingdom. But a diplomatic source at Sudan’s foreign ministry told Sudan Tribune that Sharfi handed over his work to his deputy, ruling out that the move was motivated by political reasons. The same source described Sharfi as a highly competent diplomat, saying that he has likely requested optional retirement. However, some of Sharfi’s relatives stressed in a Facebook post that the ambassador was not satisfied with Khartoum’s foreign policy, noting he is a vocal opponent of the ruling National Congress Party’s (NCP) policies. They also noted that successive foreign ministers deliberately marginalised Sharfi and prevented him from promotion and work abroad, saying he was only promoted after he won the case he filed at the labour court against the former foreign minister, Mustafa Osman Ismail. Sudan’s foreign ministry has seen several defections since the current regime came to power in 1989. Last year, the Sudanese ambassador to Venezuela, Abdel-Rahman Sharfi, left his post and fled to Canada, while Sudan’s ambassador to Malaysia, Omer Osman, also abandoned his position and left for the United States.
The row between Uganda and Sudan has continued to manifest with the recalling of the Sudanese ambassador to Uganda. Hussein Awad Ali was recalled after Sudan levelled fresh allegations at Uganda for harbouring and funding rebels to fight the Omar El Bashir government in Khartoum. The ambassador, it is reported, has already left the country. Foreign Affairs spokesperson Fred Opolot confirmed the move saying the Sudanese government had recalled their ambassador citing that Uganda was harbouring rebels with subversive intentions to the Khartoum government. The action follows a string of other diplomatic blows exchanged between Uganda and Sudan. In October last year, Uganda expelled Dr. Jad-el-Seed Mohammed Elhag a Foreign Service officer for espionage. Elhag had been nabbed in a joint security operation paying ‘contacts’ for classified information on the Ugandan government. The Sudanese government had earlier in January lodged a complaint at the African Union over the harbouring of rebels in Uganda. Efforts to get a comment from the foreign affairs minister Okello Oryem over the matter were futile as his phones went unanswered and mails to him were not replied.
The Ugandan government said it will evacuate its citizens caught up in the political crisis in Ukraine. Fred Opolot, the ministry of foreign affairs spokesperson told Xinhua by telephone that the ministry of education plans to evacuate at least 80 citizens, mainly students. “The preparations are underway for the evacuation of our citizens caught up in the crisis in Ukraine if the current unrest escalates,” said Opolot. The evacuation plans come amidst growing tensions between Ukraine and Russia over Crimea, which voted overwhelming in the Sunday referendum to join Russia. Uganda’s ambassador to Russia, Moses Ebuk on Monday told the state owned daily New Vision that the embassy has alerted all Ugandans in Ukraine to prepare for the evacuation incase the situation gets worse.