from HASSAN ONYANGO in Kampala, Uganda
KAMPALA, (CAJ News) – UGANDA is again prompted to heighten security following another series of bombings blamed on Islamist insurgents.
President Yoweri Museveni has denounced the insurgents as “pigs.” In the wake of the latest onslaught against Uganda, he said government forces’ raids on the terrorists across the border in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) were “devastating” the militants.
Last Saturday, this past weekend, security forces responded to two bombings in the Kabalagala and Nabweru areas of the Ugandan capital, Kampala. A business owner in Kabalagala was injured during an attack.
Authorities have attributed the bombings to the Islamic State (IS)-aligned Allied Democratic Forces (ADF).
The government announced that the ADF was also responsible for previous similar incidents, with the main targets being gatherings, churches, bars and schools.
“Further attacks in the near term cannot be ruled out,” said a government official. On Monday, the Joint Anti-Terrorism Task Force put up a major manhunt for two ADF suspects, for their alleged roles in a series of terror attacks.
“The goal of the wanted terror suspects is to murder Ugandans, and also cause panic and fear within the community,” said Fred Enanga, police spokesperson.
The suspects have been named as Kamusi Musa, who is said to be the commander of a splinter ADF cell, and Habib Sulaiman, allegedly involved in the various attacks using locally manufactured bombs.
A reward of Sh20 million (US$5 267) each has been offered for credible information leading to their arrests.
“We advise the public not to approach these two wanted ADF suspects, because they are armed and dangerous,” Enanga advised.
Security forces have thwarted several planned bomb attacks in recent months, including in Kampala, and occasionally announced the arrest of suspects suspected to be part of terrorist sleeper cells.
In the worst terror attack, in June, assailants killed more than 40 people, mostly students, in western Rwanda.
ADF was blamed for the attack on Lhubiriha Secondary School in the Mpondwe area of the Kasese district. This is closer to the border with the DRC. ADF is also launching attacks in the northeastern Congo.
At the end of last month, officials deployed additional security forces at the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council Headquarters following threats of protest by Muslim believers over the sale of religious properties.
Officials maintained increased security nationwide in October following an uptick of attacks in the Eastern African country.
That month, assailants ambushed a tourist vehicle in Queen Elizabeth National Park, killing one British and one South African national and their Ugandan guide.
Assailants also ambushed a commercial truck in the Katojo area close to the DRC border, leaving at least two civilians dead.
Although originally a Ugandan-based group, the ADF operates mainly in the DRC’s Ituri and North Kivu provinces.
The ADF was also blamed for suicide bombings in Kampala in late 2021. The series of attacks killed 11 people and injured 39.
In the aftermath, Uganda launched a joint security operation (operation Shujja) with DRC at border areas.
– CAJ News