Police have linked the two separate bomb attacks in the country to the Allied Democratic Forces rebels currently operating in the volatile Eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
A Saturday evening explosion at a pork eating joint in Komamboga, a Kampala suburb left one person dead and three others injured.
On Monday evening, a similar explosion on a Swift Safaris bus left one person dead and another injured at Lungala, along the Kampala-Masaka highway.
Police spokesperson, Fred Enanga said remnants of the bomb that exploded on Monday evening have given clues to security about the people behind the attacks, noting that ADF is responsible for the attacks.
“We have established from the hallmarks of the attack and the bomb materials recovered, a connection with the attack that occurred three days ago in Komamboga and could have been prepared in one place or by the same group of attackers. This, therefore, implies that the attackers are using different strategies of suicide vests and belts, armed assailants on bodabodas or motorcycles, and physical bomb attacks, targeting soft spots,”Enanga said.
He explained that the attackers are part of an ADF sleeper cell operating in Uganda and has connection to the Islamic State that has mastered making attacks on soft targets.
“From our analysis they are attacking soft targets, which are many and quite difficult to defend. They have plans of targeting civilians at easily accessible locations such as eating spots, public transportation like buses, taxis, places of worship, pedestrian areas, bars operating stealthily and any other crowded areas,” he said.
ADF sleeper cell
According to the Ugandan security, the people behind the wave of attacks are part of an ADF sleeper cell that has been in the country for a long time.
A sleeper cell is a group of secret agents that have remained inactive for a long period.
The police spokesperson said that preliminary investigations have indicated that the group has been recruiting, radicalizing and researching on how to build improvised explosive devices before carrying out attacks.
Security insists that this explains the use of crude materials in the improvised explosive devices that have so far been detonated.
“Their motive is clearly ideological and out of hatred by the ADF, that could be harboring plans a bigger plot. The group has been active since August 2021 and strongly coordinated by one of the ADF commanders based in the DRC,”Enanga said.
ADF commander in charge
Security believes that one Meddie Nkalubo, aka Martin MD,aka Benjo aka Benjamin Franklin aka Meddie Lee aka punisher who has been in the DRC for the last six years is the man commanding the attacks.
Police said Nkalubo coordinated the incident in Pader targeting mourners at the burial of late AIGP Lt Gen Paul Lokech earlier this year but the attack was nipped in the bud.
“Our task teams managed to foil that attack and arrested the suspected group of terrorists, including an IED expert, Abdul Rashid Katumba,” Enanga said.
The police spokesperson said Hamid Nsubuga also known as Young Midu the would be suicide bomber escaped from Pader and was later put out of action in Kyebando, a Kampala suburb.
The police said one Hassan Rwangabo coordinated a “failed attack” on Kawempe police station as well as the Monday attack on a Swift Safaris bus.
Security says they are still tracking down several collaborators involved in money laundering and terrorist financing.
“So far two have been arrested and these include Abdulaham Waibi and Sanyu Nakitende, who have so far received USD114.000 and distributed it to their recipients on behalf of the ADF. The funding has also been channeled through selected petroleum companies and real estate dealers,”Enanga said.
According to police, some petroleum companies and their proprietors are being investigated for being used in financing terrorists and money laundering.
He said one of the collaborators was arrested from Hoima, having been tracked after visiting one the group’s contacts in Zambia.
Police however asked members of the pubic to remain calm but vigilant in the wake of the attacks.
“We want to assure Ugandans, that despite these cowardly acts of terrorism from existing sleeper cells inspired by the ADF and the Islamic State. We remain committed with an unwavering resolve to protect Ugandans and visitors in the country,”Enanga said.
President Museveni had earlier said that the suspected suicide bomber who died in the bus along the Kampala-Masaka highway was being trailed by the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence(CMI) after the Pader incident.
Started in 1996, Allied Democratic Forces group was formed out of remnants of the National Army for the Liberation of Uganda (NALU) and Jamilu Mukulu was the group’s leader until a few years ago when he was captured by the Tanzanian forces before he was repatriated back to Uganda where he is currently detained.
Whereas the group occasionally operated in Uganda, it was later flushed out and is currently operating in the thick Eastern DRC forests from where it caries out attacks in neighbouring villages where they have killed more than 1000 people in the past few years.
Whereas the group had been weakened, a few years ago, the UPDF said they estimate it to have between 700- 900 fighters.
They have continued to recruit especially from the areas of Kasese and in the DRC through their agents.
The US earlier this year listed ADF as one of the international terrorist organisatons.