UK and US Issue Terror Alerts, Advising Citizens to Avoid Nyege Nyege Festival, National Parks

November 9, 2023

Citizens of the United States and the United Kingdom residing in Uganda and East Africa are cautioned against traveling to Jinja City unless necessary. The diplomatic missions of both nations have issued terror alerts, advising their citizens to steer clear of crowded areas, including music festivals.

This advisory coincides with the commencement of the globally renowned Nyege Nyege Festival in Jinja, scheduled to take place until Sunday across four venues: the Source of the Nile, Nile Park, Jinja Golf Ground, and Jinja Agricultural Showground. This festival draws thousands of tourists, both international and local, to Jinja City.

The United Kingdom and the United States separately released statements linking the warning to the “growing terror threats” in Uganda.

“The FCDO (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) advises against all but essential travel to Jinja town. There is an increasing threat of terrorism in Uganda, including the targeting of foreigners. Avoid large gatherings, including large religious services and music and cultural festivals in Uganda,” a statement from the UK High Commission reads in part. reads in part.

British nationals are also strongly advised against visiting wildlife centers in western Uganda in light of the tragic incident on October 17th, where British citizen David Barlow, his South African wife Emmaretia Geyer, and their Ugandan tour guide Eric Alyai were fatally shot by suspected Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebels in Queen Elizabeth National Park.

In its alert, the U.S. mission in Uganda instructed its citizens to avoid participating in public gatherings within the East African country.

“Due to increased terrorist activity, U.S. Embassy Kampala recommends that individuals exercise an elevated degree of caution and reconsider attendance at upcoming large public gatherings, such as large-scale worship services and music and cultural festivals in Kampala and Jinja,” the US alert reads in part.

In the same alerts, both the United Kingdom and the United States cautioned their citizens about Uganda’s recently enacted anti-homosexuality laws, highlighting the potential risk that these laws could be utilized to target them.

“On 30 May 2023 an anti-homosexuality act was brought into law in Uganda. The act includes harsh prison sentences, and the death penalty in some cases, for same sex sexual activity and also the supporting or promotion of LGBT+ rights,” the UK statement reads in part.

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