Wake up to risks of war on terror

The murder of 141 people, including 132 school children and nine staff members in Pakistani should warn us of the risks of war on terrorists. This violence underscored the vulnerability of public institutions of countries fighting terrorists. This echoes the tragedy a school in Beslan, Russia, where a similar group of terrorists massacred 186 children in 2004. This should also warn us that the militants can hit us and hit real hard, especially soft targets such as churches, mosques, rallies and entertainment spots.

This attack should echo the tragedy Uganda suffered when al-Shabaab terrorists bombed Kyadondo Rugby Grounds and Ethiopian Village Restaurant in Kampala as fans watched the football World Cup final match hosted by South Africa, on July 11, 2010. This attack killed at least 80 people and left scores injured. These senseless murders should also force us to ask how well protected our schools, hospitals, and other public spaces are against such terrorist attacks.

The Pakistan school massacre must wake us up to the risks all nations that fight terrorists face. Just as analysts speculate, and the militants confessed their attack in Pakistan was retaliatory against its military connections, the same applies to us. Uganda still has active UPDF boots on Somalia soil. And similar retaliatory actions have been planned against Uganda. So even as we stand with the people of Pakistan, let us be concerned about our security at home too.

Like the militants targeted Pakistan, Russia, and Uganda just a handful of the terrorists can still creep on us again and wreak havoc. In all these attacks, the militants were only a handful. So Ugandans must not tire to be on the lookout against the terrorists. This demands the population must be vigilant because the security agencies will not be everywhere and at all times to guarantee our safety.

Ugandans can protect themselves against such non-discriminate attacks. All we have to do is remember in all these three cases, the terrorists had no formation and frontline but have aanced stealthily on victims. We are the first line of defence, notwithstanding the responsibility of our security agencies. This requires the public to form the first line of defence. This should force us to step up our guard as well as resolve to defeat the terrorists.

Finally, let us stand with the people of Pakistan. But above all, let us be watchful and fight the terrorists in whatever guise. Although the buck stops with the government and our security agencies, the public is key, too.
As the English adage goes, forewarned is forearmed.

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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