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Museveni speaks after America bans its citizens from attending Nyege Nyege Festival

By Winnie Mabel November 9th, 2023 2 min read

On November 9, 2023, the United States Embassy in Uganda issued a directive banning its citizens from attending the Nyege Nyege Festival set to take place from November 9-12, 2023 in Jinja.

“The U.S. Embassy is directing its staff to not attend the Nyege Nyege festival in Jinja from November 9-12, 2023.  Due to security concerns, we advise U.S. citizens not to attend the festival. U.S. citizens should: Stay alert in locations frequented by tourists, enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive information and alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency overseas, and follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter and visit,” read the security alert statement.

Earlier, the Embassy had alerted its citizens of increased terrorist activity and recommended everyone to be on high alert.

“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.  Additionally, be mindful when visiting locations where people tend to gather such as hotels, malls, and marketplaces,” said the Embassy on November 6, 2023.

Thousands of Kenyans are also known to travel to Jinja for the entertainment festival. The security alert came on the heels of foreign tourists being shot dead and their vehicles being set ablaze. Dozens of school-going girls were also killed in a separate terrorist attack.

However, days later on November 9, 2023, Uganda President Yoweri Museveni all but shunned the security alert as he invited everyone to attend the Festival, saying security forces would be guarding “pre-prepared public functions.”

“Within Uganda, the security forces are guarding the pre-prepared public functions like the controversial Nyege Nyege, the Kyabazinga wedding, etc,” said President Museveni in a statement on social media.

“I, therefore, advise the Wanainchi to be vigilant in the villages, the churches, the markets, public transport, etc. The infiltrators are few and with vigilance, they will be captured. Meanwhile, we are intensifying the hunt for the real authors of the terrorism schemes in Congo. They will be wiped out if they do not surrender.”

In October 2023,  two honeymooning tourists were killed while on safari in Queen Elizabeth National Park near the Democratic Republic of Congo. Their Ugandan guide, Eric Ayai, was also killed.

Previously, in June 2023, Ugandan authorities recovered the bodies of 41 people, among them 38 secondary school students, who had been burned, shot, or hacked to death by rebels near the Uganda-Congo border. The attackers were linked to the Islamic State group as well.

The US has in the recent past consistently announced travel advisories to Uganda, in the wake of a move by President Museveni to sign an anti-gay law, which proposes jail term for those found guilty of same-sex romantic relationship.

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