Three Western countries have issued warnings to their citizens not to attend the Nyege Nyege music festival in Uganda, which starts on Thursday and ends on Sunday evening, citing the risk of an attack.
Thousands of festival-goers are expected on the outskirts of Jinja (south) to attend the four-day annual festival on the shores of Lake Victoria.
The warnings come from the embassies of the United States, Great Britain and Ireland and follow several deadly attacks in recent months in Uganda, attributed to the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebels, who have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group and are based in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo.
"Due to security concerns, we advise American citizens not to attend the festival", the US embassy in Kampala wrote on Thursday.
On Monday, the British High Commission warned against non-essential travel to Jinja, due to "a growing terrorist threat in Uganda, including the targeting of foreigners".
The Irish Embassy issued a similar warning, citing in particular "music and cultural festivals in Uganda".
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni reassured participants in a message posted on X (formerly Twitter): "The security forces are protecting public events scheduled in advance, including the controversial Nyege Nyege", created in 2015.
In 2022, the Ugandan parliament banned the festival, accusing it of "promoting immorality" (sex, homosexuality, drugs), a decision that was eventually lifted by the government. The 2022 edition attracted 12,000 participants, including 5,000 foreign tourists.
The Ugandan security forces are currently on the alert: on 17 October, a British man and a South African woman on their honeymoon, as well as their guide, were murdered in Queen Elizabeth Park, an attack attributed to the ADF and which has raised fears in the tourism sector.
The leader of an ADF group accused of carrying out the attack was captured at the beginning of November during an operation in which, according to the army, the six other members of the commando were killed.
In June, 42 people, including 37 pupils, were killed in a secondary school in the west of the country in an attack also attributed to the ADF. Originally Ugandan rebels with a Muslim majority, the ADF spread to eastern DRC in the 1990s. In 2019, they pledged allegiance to the EI, which claims responsibility for some of their actions and presents them as its "Central African Province" (Iscap in English).