Uganda: Five Terrorists Killed following Bomb Attack in Kampala
By: Laura Nayere
The Ugandan police on Friday (November 19) shot dead five suspects and arrested 21 people following the twin suicide bombings by an ISIS affiliate group last week, the AFP reported.
A fifth man, a cleric, named Muhammad Kirevu, was killed in “a violent confrontation" when security forces raided his home outside Kampala, police spokesman Fred Enanga told AFP. “A second cleric, Suleiman Nsubuga, is the subject of a manhunt,” he said, accusing the two clerics of radicalising young Muslim men and encouraging them to join underground cells to carry out violent attacks.
The police raids came after the explosions on November 16. At least four civilians were killed when suicide bombers detonated their explosives at two locations in the capital city Kampala. One attack happened near the parliamentary building and the second near a busy police station.
A total of 21 suspects with alleged links to the perpetrators are in custody. As per the cops’ statement, 13 out of these 21 include teenagers who were caught trying to escape to the bordering Congo.
The Islamic State (IS), which is allied with the anti-Uganda rebel group called Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), claimed responsibility for the November 16 attacks, which killed seven people in total (including the three bombers) and injured dozens more. One police officer was among the four killed, while 27 out 37 wounded were also police officers.
“To disrupt and dismantle acts of domestic terrorism, we have intensified operations. Since these operations began, a total of 106 suspects have been arrested,” police spokesperson Fred Enanga said in a statement posted on Facebook on November 19. The police did not provide details on how the seven suspects were killed, Al-Jazeera reported.
Great Lakes Region security analyst Dismas Nkunda told pan-African news agency RFI that it would not be surprising if the reports about the ADF were accurate, considering the group is based in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo. After being pushed out of Uganda, the group has been operating in the DRC for 20 years. However, authorities say the group is expanding to other countries in the region.
President Yoweri Museveni called out the ADF at a press conference following the attacks, warning that security forces were “coming for” them. He also reassured Ugandans, saying the government was more than ready to deal with urban terrorism. He referred to the killed suspects as “manipulated victims of confusion.”
While Ugandan authorities are under pressure to show they are in control of the situation, the killings of suspects raise fears of a violent crackdown in which innocent people are victims.
For years, the ADF has been opposed to Museveni, a US security ally who was the first African leader to deploy peacekeepers in Somalia to protect the federal government from the extremist group al-Shabab. In retaliation to Uganda’s deployment of troops to Somalia, that group carried out attacks in 2010 that killed at least 70 people who had assembled in public places in Kampala to watch a soccer World Cup game.
Tuesday's attack was the latest in several recent bomb explosions in Kampala.
Last month, a 20-year-old waitress was killed after a device, left in a shopping bag, detonated in a bar in the city. Days later, several people were injured when a suicide bomber blew himself up in a bus near Kampala. Police say both were linked to the ADF.
The bombings on November 16 marked the most significant attack that the ADF has carried out in Uganda since establishing relations with IS.
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