Abtex Didn’t Apply For Any Fireworks Display-Shocking Details On Freedom City Mall Stampede Emerge That Killed 10 People


By Uganda Online Media

Fresh details have emerged in the circumstances under which over 10 people died during the new year stampede at Freedom City Mall along Entebbe road.

A stampede during a concert to usher in the new year at Freedom City Mall, a popular place within Kampala left 10 dead and many others with nursing injuries.

Preliminary investigations indicated that the stampede happened when the master of ceremonies during the concert asked revellers to move out and watch a fireworks display but a stampede occurred as they jostled to move through the exit of the venue.

According to police spokesperson, Fred Enanga, as part of investigations, they have recorded statements from various groups of people attached to the concert including the venue proprietor, John Ssebalamu, other organisers, private security guards, police officers, survivors, and CCTV footage.

“The facts so far gathered reveal that the proprietor of the Freedom City Mall made an agreement with Abitex with clear terms and conditions in which the organizer was to provide a must adequate security and crowd control for the event and venue. Under the agreement, the organizer was tasked to provide first aid, fire and emergency arrangements for the event depending on the type, nature and scale of the event,” Enanga said.

According to police, on December, 14, Abitex was granted permission to organize the event but with specific security and safety guidelines to be followed, adding that on December, 30, the Katwe Divisional Police Commander and his team met with the organisers at the venue before inspecting and clearing it.

The police spokesperson explained that it was agreed during the meeting that Abitex’s team would man the inner ring to secure cash collections and to this, the team hired bouncers and private security guards for that function.

“It was further established that counter-terrorism police were in charge of access control, search, K9 venue, explosive sweeps, snap checks, intelligence and armed men while the police at Katwe was in charge of the outer ring which extended to the parking, traffic control, external environment and patrols.”

Police investigations indicate that on December, 31, the management of Freedom City handed over the venue plus the children’s play area to Abitex for the event after being assured that every prerequisite guideline had or was to be adhered to.

“All the padlocks to the gates and doors were removed by the management of Freedom City before the venue was handed over to Abitex to show that he now had full authority over the venue. The findings also indicate that Abitex was warned about the potential crowd control and safety concerns by police. The preventive guidelines were clearly spelt out to him during the concert preparations and made aware as organisers of their duty to hire private security, provide emergency medical services control crowds and forge evacuation routes,” Enanga said.

Police also say that on a fateful day, Abtex didn’t apply for a fireworks display but rather the management of the mall contracted Extreme events to display fireworks on behalf of the entire mall.

This revelation shows it was wrong for the organisers of the event at Freedom City to ask revellers as it was reported to go and watch a fireworks display that they had not organized and planned for which eventually led to the stampede.

The police spokesperson insisted that the organisers disregarded the measures and guidelines put in place by security as they fronted profits more than the lives of the revellers.

“The organisers put profit over the safety of the revellers. They disregarded the safety and security protocol in the management of a large concert and issued a dangerous directive to bouncers to lock all the other four doors that led to the death of 11 concertgoers and the hospitalization of eight others,” Enanga said.

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