Museveni links attacks on police to ADF, deserters, NUP

Busiika Police Station in Luweero District, which was recently attacked by armed men, has been merged with Bugema Police Station. PHOTO/DAN WANDERA

What you need to know:

  • On December 1, in a statement delivered to Parliament, Gen David Muhoozi—the junior interior minister—linked the attacks to subversive activities facilitated by rogue members of security, as well as laxity of personnel.

President Museveni has said he is unfazed by the recent spate of attacks on security personnel and establishments, warning that rogue elements perpetrating them will be firmly dealt with.

While addressing the nation on Friday, Mr Museveni linked different attacks to elements of the Islamist rebel group Allied Democratic Forces, army deserters, active officers, who serve at his request as UPDF commander-in-chief, and police,  as well as organised criminals.

The President revealed that three attackers have been killed, and dozens more—including two Burundians and a UPDF soldier—arrested.

Mr Museveni’s report came barely two days after Internal Affairs minister Gen Kahinda Otafire ruled out any links to a rebel group, tagging attacks to security personnel and establishments to mere criminals. 

On December 1, in a statement delivered to Parliament, Gen David Muhoozi—the junior interior minister—linked the attacks to subversive activities facilitated by rogue members of security, as well as laxity of personnel.

Top officials charged with running the rule over border security have been on high alert following a spate of attacks on police posts, personnel and stealing of firearms. Mr Museveni described the intent of the people behind the attacks as “empty-headed plans”, adding that they were propped by criminals.

“Some of them may be linked to ADF, trying to steal money and guns, and some of them for crime,” the President revealed, adding, “They are easy to deal with. When you attack armed people, you may succeed once or twice but once they know that there is a group attacking them, they are alert.”


ADF back at it?

The rebel outfit ADF—now reported to be based in the jungles of the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo—has for nearly three decades been a thorn in Uganda’s flesh. Last year, the Kampala and Kinshasa governments launched an offensive on the Islamist rebel group after the former accused it of setting off synchronised bombs in its capital Kampala.

Mr Museveni on Friday night explained that some of the Islamist rebel group’s elements have been using the attacks to rob money to facilitate their operations.

“Those which are linked to ADF; ADF is being destroyed in [DR] Congo by very powerful actions there. Here, they may try to rob money because they are in a bad situation in Congo,” the President said.

He added: “They were thinking the forest is safe for them, but actually it is good for us because we have the ability to see in the forest and we have got a lot of capacity. We can destroy these people from a long distance without reaching where they are and that is what has been happening. These remnants here try to rob money, plant bombs, but they cannot be successful because we are destroying them.”


Other culprits

About the latest attack that occurred at Kapeeka in Nakaseke District on November 26, leaving a UPDF soldier—Private Tufeyo Obed—dead, Mr Museveni said 24 suspects were arrested. He further revealed that two assailants—Tarasisi Marengere, a Burundi national and Dennis Ssekimpi, a member of the Opposition National Unity Platform (NUP) party Executive Committee of Wakiso District—were killed.

Mr Museveni described Ssekimpi as a serial robber, linking him to more than five attacks and murders across the country.

“He has not been acting alone. He has a group of people, all of them have been arrested, [including] Farouq Muwonge, alias Ssalongo, Ivan Byamukama, alias Afande, Innocent Kaiso and Mpande Muwonge, alias Moze,” he revealed, adding, “Fifteen other Ssekimpi associates were arrested, including two arrested at the Namayiba bus park as they were fleeing. These are Barundi; Charles Ndagizimana and Muhammad Sabumununzi.”

However, NUP party secretary general Lewis Rubongoya dismissed claims of  the party being involved in the attacks.

“We heard Gen Museveni’s but not surprising comments associating Dennis Ssekimpi to NUP. It is unfortunate that this issue is being politicised like they did with the Bijambiya [matchete attacks in Greater Masaka last year], which ended with the detention of our MPs. I have checked our records and I haven’t found any Dennis Ssekimpi, who Museveni said was our executive member,” he said.

The case of the November 17 attack on Gaddafi Barracks in Jinja was tagged to UPDF deserters, whom Mr Museveni said sought guns to carry out robberies for money.

In the attack, a soldier—Sgt Simon Peter Ayagu —was strangled to death and two rifles stolen. The arms have since been recovered in Iganga Municipality. A soldier—Pte Rodgers Alisobola—who allegedly collaborated with the attackers, was killed.

“They identified him as a deserter who knew the barracks and killed the colleague who was not alert,” Mr Museveni said, adding, “The attack could have been the work of some two UPDF deserters, who had been arrested before but escaped from prison. Three UPDF soldiers have since been arrested.”


Other attacks


According to Mr Museveni’s report, another group led by one Nduguwa Ssemogerere, and 22 others were arrested and are facing trial for killing four police officers, injuring two UPDF soldiers and robbing five government rifles. 

The group is linked to attacks on UPDF, police posts and patrols, in Wakiso, Busunju and Kiboga districts between November and December 2021.

In the statement to Parliament, Gen Muhoozi reported 13 incidents over the past 12 months where two UPDF soldiers and nine police officers were killed.  Of the 15 firearms stolen, 10 had been recovered.

Some suspects, including those who attacked Busiika Police Station in Luweero District on October 31, killing deputy Inspector of Police Alex Wagaluka, Police Constables Moses Ongol and Steven O’dama, remain at large.

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