Army says 'significant number of ADF rebels killed on Lake Edward'

Members of the UPDF remain on guard on Lake Edward on November 1, 2023 as the army carried out an operation targeting suspected ADF rebels in Uganda's Rwenzori Sub-Region. PHOTO/JEROME KULE BITSWANDE

What you need to know:

  • UPDF says operation ongoing "to eliminate all remaining splinter groups associated with ADF.”

"A significant number of rebels" backed by the Islamic State group were killed during an overnight Tuesday operation on Lake Edward, authorities have said.

On Tuesday, Uganda Peoples’ Defense Forces (UPDF) deputy spokesperson Col Deo Akiiki disclosed that the killed militants belong to the IS-affiliated Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) and were traveling by boat on the lake shared by Uganda and DR Congo.

According to Col Akiiki, UPDF has been pursuing members of the rebel group following a deadly October 17 attack on a honeymoon couple and their driver tour guide within Queen Elizabeth National Park.

"The suspected ADF rebels were finally located and a significant number of them eliminated on Tuesday night during a well-coordinated intelligence-led operation on Lake Edward, near the Kayanja Landing site in Kasese District," he told journalists.

Col Akiiki emphasized that the insurgents were directly linked to the tourist attack, signaling that “the operation is ongoing to eliminate all remaining splinter groups associated with ADF.”

The Tuesday operation involved UPDF marine units, Special Forces, and infantry squads from the 222nd and 301st Brigades.

UPDF is nowurging Kasese residents to maintain their cooperation with the security forces actively pursuing more ADF rebels to prevent any further incursions into the district.

Asked to comment on the Tuesday assault on the militants, Operation Shuuja commander Maj Gen Dick Olum told Monitor he was heading to the scene as he promised to provide detailed causality information.

By midday on Wednesday, heavily armed security forces maintained presence around the lake.

"Since this morning, we've observed a significant surge in the presence of UPDF soldiers on Lake Albert. We welcome this development because ever since the attack occurred on the lake, our tourism sector has been severely impacted,” Nicholas Kagongo, the manager of Katwe Eco Tourism Information Center in the Katwe-Kabatooro Town Council, Kasese district said.

He added: “All 16 bookings I had registered for tourists from Costa Rica who had planned to visit in mid-November have now been canceled."

Briton David Jim Barlow, his wife Emmaretia Cecilia Geyer and Eric Alyai were brutally murdered by suspected ADF terrorists during an attack as they toured within Queen Elizabeth National Park.