Police said on Monday that at least 48 suspects with strong links to terrorist acts had been arrested following the recent bombing in Kampala which left one dead and four others seriously injured.
The October 23 explosion at a pig restaurant in Komamboga, a northern suburb of the capital, which police described as an act of domestic terror and for which the Islamic State group claimed responsibility, left a waitress, uniquely identified as being Emily Nyinaneza, dead.
Police spokesman Fred Enanga said on Monday that the suspects had been arrested by security agencies of the Joint Counterterrorism Unit, the joint intelligence components of CMI, IC, ISO and CID following what he described as several operations carried out by the intelligence services.
“These relate to isolated individuals, those operating in small cells that have been shattered and others on various terrorist activities. The public should know that threats of terrorism, especially on soft targets, still exist. And as we continue to expand our intelligence-led operations, to ensure the protection of all Ugandans and visitors. We call on the public to be extremely vigilant against threats of terrorism, which arise amid the threat of COVID-19. And although these arrests represent a positive step, there is still work to be done to identify all those responsible, ”said CP Enanga.
Mr. Enanga added that apart from two bombings in Komamboga and inside a bus in Lungala along the Kampala-Masaka road in Mpigi district, security agencies responded to four more. Suspicious bomb threats in metropolitan areas of Kampala but found no explosives. The explosion of the Mpigi bus also killed one person and injured several others.
“Our work teams responded to several disturbance calls, from an abandoned bag allegedly containing a bomb at the Katabi playground. responded and found out that it was a bag with We also responded to a suspected abandoned bomb near Nsambya Sharing Hall, which was a tear gas canister that was picked up by the FFU. We also responded to a numberless abandoned motor vehicle, along Gaba Road, next to the US Embassy, which we established as that of Mwongyera Andrew, a member of the Embassy staff. In addition, we responded to a concern in Akamwesi, along Gayaza road, where we recovered a green polyethylene bag that contained garbage, ”Mr. Enanga added.
Authorities said the terrorists used an explosive device containing nails and pieces of metal, covered with a plastic bag during the Komamboga explosion.
Police said the raw bomb left under a table indicated the work of an unsophisticated local company and played down any connection to foreign networks.
However, in a message sent through its communications channels, ISIS’s Central Africa Province said it carried out the attack and claimed it killed two people and injured five.
“A security detachment of Caliphate soldiers was able to detonate an explosive device inside a tavern in which were gathered elements and spies from the Ugandan Crusader army,” part of the statement read. cited by the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors activists’ communications. .
On October 8, ISIS claimed responsibility for its first attack in Uganda, alleging that a unit of the same operation in Central Africa shelled a police station in Kampala, causing injuries.
No explosions or injuries were reported by authorities or local media at the time, although police later confirmed that a minor incident had occurred without providing further details.
However, in the following days Britain and France updated their travel advice, saying terrorists were “very likely to try to carry out attacks in Uganda” and calling for vigilance in overcrowded areas. .
In 2010, two bombings in Kampala targeting fans watching the World Cup final killed 76 people.
The Al-Shabaab militant group in Somalia claimed responsibility for the explosions at a restaurant and at a rugby club.
The attack, the first outside Somalia by Al-Shabaab, was seen as revenge for Uganda sending troops to the war-torn country as part of an African Union mission to confront the insurgents.
President Museveni promised those responsible for the recent attacks would be arrested and expressed his condolences to those killed and injured.