Nov 28, 2021

Mawazo Writing Africa

Writing about the main

EDITORIAL: States must take terror alerts much more seriously

Terror revisited East Africa this week with two bomb attacks in Kampala that have so far claimed seven lives and injured dozen. Among the dead are three alleged suicide bombers.

The attacks, which took place every three minutes, were not entirely unexpected. They came more than a month after British intelligence warned of an imminent threat of terrorism. It is not known how specific this intelligence information was.

They were the brazen ones to target government institutions after minor explosions in an entertainment spot and a long-distance bus weeks earlier. There had also been isolated incidents in the countryside in which duds were found, including one in which, strangely, a bomb was used as a rock in a village butcher’s shop, and another in which three children were killed in an explosion.

For a region in which many forced movements across national borders have taken place, the increase in uncertainty should not have been unexpected. Mass movements of people are the perfect camouflage for infiltration into previously impenetrable target countries, as the people on the front lines of such emergencies are often not trained in security surveillance.

The development of domestic terrorism is also worrying, with residents increasing become terrorists. At an international tourism conference in 2005, Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni claimed that Uganda was safe from terrorism because black Africans were not prone to suicide.

The assassins who died in the attack on Tuesday were native Ugandans, as have all the suspects arrested since security agencies got wind of the terrorist plots. In Kenya, three terrorists who broke out of the country’s safest prison on Monday and were arrested about 300 km from Nairobi on Thursday were locals.

Not so long ago, an armed man went on a rampage in Dar es Salaam in the city’s diplomatic quarter, where several people were killed and injured. What has changed?

The answer to this question is inseparable from domestic politics, which has increasingly assumed a totalitarian character. International terrorism finds fertile soil in a politically and economically dissatisfied population. Ruling parties obsessed with staying in power are splitting their countries in half, making it nearly impossible to achieve a common goal in the face of an existential threat that for some people is the promise of liberation.

Whether or not the bombers who were killed in Kampala knew they were going to die or not, they were probably motivated by the idea that they are bringing back a system that has alienated them. They would not mind finding that the people they hire have a distant and more complex agenda than their personal grievances.

In order to mobilize people against terrorism, governments need to instill values ​​in their employees protect and die. The average person will not appreciate the ideals of democracy and freedoms that they do not have.

Terrorism cannot be wished away, and insults will not solve the problem either. Citizens must accept the idea that terrorism in any form is a threat to all, and governments must address the factors that fuel discontent. This can be achieved initially by realigning and retraining the security system and making it possible to smell and detect material threats from a distance of several kilometers. The hostile relationship between citizens and their owners must also change towards more cooperation.