There is heightened security deployment at Entebbe International Airport and around hotels within Entebbe municipality following the arrival of the first batch of Afghan evacuees. Normally, private security guards and two tourism police officers guard hotels in Entebbe town.
However, on Wednesday morning, plain-clothed officers from the Special Forces Command-SFC deployed strategically at selected hotels such as Imperial Beach Resort Beach where the first batch of 51 Afghan citizens are residing. The others have deployed around Imperial Apartments, Protea Hotel by Marriot and Imperial Botanical Beach Hotel.
Some of the officers have deployed along walkways at the arrival and departure sections of the airport while others are stationed at the entrance and waiting lounges of some hotels.
What gives away most of the plain-clothed officers is the UPDF labelled face masks, security badges and tags they are wearing.
However, some officers in uniform have also deployed at the main entrance of Entebbe Airport and main access to hotels such as Pulikal Hotel, Airport View Hotel, Imperial Apartments and Imperial Resort Beach Hotel.
Hajji Mbabali Njuki, the Deputy Resident District Commissioner for Entebbe Municipality confirmed the heightened security deployment. “Only that this time around, more security officers, mainly in plain clothes have been deployed at the airport and hotels to limit access to the evacuees,” he said.
According to Njuki, security agencies prepared for the arrival of the Afghan evacuees.
He declined to name the specific hotels, which cost the distressed Afghan evacuees.
Njuki was among the officials who witnessed the arrival of the first batch of 51 Afghan evacuees on Wednesday morning comprising women, men and children aboard Kam Air, which was privately chartered. After going through security and COVID-19 screening, the evacuees were taken to Imperial Beach Resort Hotel.
Our reporter saw four SFC soldiers manning the main hotel entrance. “The hotel is out of bounds,” one of the officers said. However, upon further probing, the officer noted that the “hotel is fully occupied and is not admitting any more visitors.”
At Pulickal Hotel, our reporter saw a police officer manning the main entrance. We was able to access the reception area. The Managing Director, Soubia Antony said that they have not got any bookings to host the evacuees. “But I hope we get them because it will bring us business,” he said.
According to earlier, reports from Foreign Affairs Ministry officials Uganda agreed to host 2000 evacuees on the request from the US government.