from HASSAN ONYANGO in Kampala, Uganda
KAMPALA, (CAJ News) – UGANDA is maintaining increased security nationwide following deadly terror attacks that peaked during the festive season.
The spate of attacks has been attributed to the Islamic State (IS)-aligned Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) prompting tightened security in the western border areas, the capital Kampala and other urban centres.
Among these terror acts were in a village in Kamwenge District on Christmas Day, December 25. Three civilians were killed.
On December 19, the suspected Islamist militants attacked Kyabandara parish, also in Kamwenge, killing at least ten civilians and looting shops in the area.
Two bombings in early December in the Kabalagala and Nabweru areas of the capital caused one injury.
There had been similar attacks in October, including the killing of a British national, a South African national and their Ugandan guide at the northern Queen Elizabeth National Park.
The same month, suspected ADF members ambushed a commercial truck in the Kasese District (DRC), close to the Democratic Republic of Congo border, leaving at least two civilians dead.
In the worst attack in recent months, 37 children were killed and an unspecified number kidnapped when the militants stormed a school in Mpondwe, also in Kasese, in June.
Authorities have reported thwarting a number of planned bomb attacks.
“Further attacks are possible in the near term, notably in main urban centres and regions bordering the DRC,” a security think-tank forecast.
Originally a terror group in western Rwanda in the late 1990s, ADF has expanded to the DRC.
As a result of ongoing security measures, checkpoints, patrols, and random vehicle and baggage searches are conducted.
Police spokesperson, Fred Enanga, delivering the Inspector General of Police’s End of Year and Christmas message, said the terror attacks by ADF rebels were among challenges that made 2023 “an exceptionally busy year” from a policing view.
In his End of Year Address, President Yoweri Museveni, said the military had made progress against the rebel groups since DRC permitted Ugandan forces to launch attacks against the militants in Congolese territory.
“In desperation, the terrorists have been trying to send squads into Uganda to kill unarmed civilians and plant bombs,” he said.
Museveni concluded, “We are hitting them so hard. They will soon run out of people to send for bombing.”
– CAJ News