KAMPALA. Uganda police force have issued guidelines that shall be followed to usher in 2018, warning that they would not hesitate to arrest whoever will not observe them.
Police spokesperson, Mr Emilian Kayima, told journalists in Kampala on Friday that only 921 entertainment and prayer venues have been cleared to display fireworks on Sunday midnight to welcome the New Year.
Police warned public against blowing fireworks without clearance from the Inspector General of Police, Gen Kale Kayihura because they will be arrested and prosecuted.
“Please don’t be tempted to display fireworks when your place is not among those that have been cleared by police.
Do it at your own risk. Those cleared to display fireworks have been sensitised and they know what to do,” Mr Kayima said.
Venues cleared by police to display fireworks have increased by 303 from 618 last year. The increase has been attributed to early application for clearance as opposed to last year where people sought clearance at the last minutes and they were left out.
Mr Kayima said a team of counter-terrorism police officers will be dispatched on Sunday to conduct a last minutes inspection of venues for fireworks display to ensure they don’t deviate from the guidelines.
“Our counter-terrorism officers will escort the fireworks to the cleared venues and will make sure every venue follows the guidelines. As usual, fireworks display will only last for five minutes. You exceed the allocated time you will be arrested,” Mr Kayima warned.
Police said venues near hospitals and inflammables like fuel pump stations and gas storage sites have not been authorized to display fireworks.
“We urge venues cleared to display fireworks to alert their neighbours through notices and adverts in the media so that people are aware.
If you don’t inform your neighbours and something wrong happens to them, you will be held accountable,” he said.
Some of the venues cleared to blow fireworks include Lubiri, Sheraton Hotel, Kampala Serena Hotel, Hotel Africana Ltd Wampewo, Silver Springs in Bugolobi, Silk Liquid Bugolobi, Ethiopian Restaurant Lugogo, Victory Church Namboole, Essela Country Hotel Kira, Sports View Hotel in Kireka, St Peter’s Church of Uganda in Kisaasi, Royal Suites Bugolobi, Lohana Academy Kololo, Uganda Martyrs Namugongo, Colline Hotel Mukono, Ridar Hotel Ltd Seeta and Jubile Christian Life International, among others.
Police promised to provide security at all venues but also called upon the public to be vigilant and careful while at entertainment and prayer venues.