Security recovers six explosives in two days in Kampala

Police spokesperson Fred Enanga. PHOTO/ FRANK BAGUMA 

What you need to know:

  • Military and police sources say the recovery of the deadly weapons has disrupted a plot by ADF to hit Kampala.

A few weeks after Uganda was placed on heightened alert for fresh terrorist attacks, security agencies yesterday said a 48-hour operation led to the recovery of six bombs from locations around Kampala.

Police spokesperson Fred Enanga told a media briefing that the Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) were recovered from Peaceful Guest House in Bunamwaya and Mabito business hub in Nateete.

On Sunday, security had in the first incident detected and detonated an IED at Rubaga Miracle Centre Church in Kayanja Zone.

A 28-year-old suspect was arrested after he was reportedly found in possession of the device hidden inside a food flask.

“…altogether, the joint security agencies have managed to locate six IEDs within these two days that were meant to cause harm in those respective premises,” Mr Enanga said.

The police spokesperson, however, said “the arrest and counter-terror operations have not significantly changed the security level in the country. A threat environment still exists and as always, we have taken measures to respond and mitigate all forms of terror.”

Military and police sources said the recovery of the crude but deadly weapons has disrupted an anticipated plot by terrorists linked to the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) to carry out retaliatory strikes across Kampala.

Maj Charles Kabona, who speaks for the army’s First Division based in Kakiri, Wakiso District, told journalists that ADF militants were attempting a diversionary attack.

He said the terror group was reacting to the intense pressure they are facing as a result of joint Uganda-Congolese military operations in DRC’s North Kivu Province.

“The negative elements are doing this because we have exerted pressure on the criminals in Congo and now they want to destabilise here, but I can assure you that where they have come [to] is like [jumping from the] frying pan into fire,” he said.

After the Sunday detention of the suspect, at least 13 more individuals have since been taken into custody in a city security swoop, Maj Kabona said.

“Security used technology to arrest other suspects that led them to Mabito in Nateete where we cordoned off the place and arrested 13 more suspects that are currently detained at Nateete Police Station,” he said.

Maj Kabona’s revelation comes amid police reports that the suspect arrested outside Rubaga Miracle Centre was on a watch list compiled by the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence.

Upon interrogation, he is said to have revealed that his suspected terror cell comprised six members.
“We are actively searching for the five other co-conspirators who are at large,” Mr Enanga said.
Meanwhile, Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesperson Patrick Onyango separately disclosed that police received a tip-off from a manager of Peaceful Guesthouse, claiming that a male individual booked a room where a suspicious bag was abandoned. The man reportedly left with another person after telling the manager he would be back soon but never returned.

Latest developments in Uganda’s painful history of terrorist activity come two months after the United Kingdom government issued an alert, warning that terror attacks are “likely” to occur in the country.

The UK alert was issued a month after suspected ADF militants attacked and set ablaze Mpondwe-Lhubiriha Secondary School in Kasese District.

At least 44 people, including students and area locals, were hacked or shot to death in the horrific incident.

All suspected attackers in that incident reportedly retreated towards an area where the ADF has maintained rear bases in the Congo dating back to the early 1990s. Ugandan troops, working alongside the Congolese military, continue pursuing the group as part of the wider Operation Shujaa, which was launched in November 2021.

Operation Shujaa followed shortly after twin blasts rocked Kampala, leaving 10 people dead and others injured in an attack attributed to the ADF on November 16, 2021.

Uganda’s Defence ministry has recently said Operation Shujaa continues to score significant successes, with more than 400 ADF fighters believed to have been killed and several areas liberated. Last week, it was reported that one Fazul, reputed to be a top commander and IED-making instructor, was killed in a raid mounted by UPDF troops.