Africa

Ugandan blast: Islamic State claims responsibility as death toll rises

Mozambique is sending a medical team to identify the bodies of 12 people beheaded during an Islamic State attack last month on the northern gas exploration hub of Palma, an army spokesperson said.

The Islamic State terror group has claimed responsibility for the twin blast that killed scores in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, on Tuesday.

The group claimed responsibility for the incident through a statement on its Telegram channels. It said three suicide bombers took part, with one attack targeting the central police station and another aimed at parliament.

At least six people have been confirmed dead from the explosion.

The spokesperson of the Uganda Police Force, Fred Enanga, said the police foiled a third attack by recovering an improvised explosive device from the home of a suspected suicide bomber who was shot and injured. He also said the police were in pursuit of other members of the group.

Mr Enanga accused a Ugandan group, Allied Democratic Front, of being responsible for the blast that occurred Tuesday morning in Kampala, Uganda’s capital.

NTV Uganda reported that “scores” had been injured and there had been two blasts – one very close to parliament and one near the central police station.

The parliament’s plenary session for Tuesday was immediately suspended following the incident and has now been suspended till further notice.

The blast comes 22 days after a previous bus blast.

While assuring Ugandans and visitors that the police was on top of things and will continue to ensure their safety, Mr Enanga urged them to be vigilant’ noting that, “these attacks are real and we need to be vigilant.”

He said that CCTV footages captured two of the suicide bombers on a motorbike disguising as border control officers before the bombs detonated, killing them as well.

ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), also known as ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant), is a Sunni jihadist group that calls itself a caliphate and claims religious authority over all Muslims. It was inspired by al Qaeda but later publicly expelled from it.

According to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) is a long-standing insurgent group with Ugandan roots that is currently operating in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). While the ADF’s ideology has historically contained some Salafi-jihadist elements, it has also recruited along secular ethnic lines and is deeply entrenched in the broader political and economic dynamics of the Rwenzori border region between Uganda and DRC.

According to NTV Uganda, in April 2019, IS began to claim some ADF attacks on social media, presenting the group as its regional branch — the Islamic State Central Africa Province, or ISCAP.

“Uganda is one of the nations participating in the war against IS in Central Africa,” the IS message read.

In March this year, the United States officially linked the ADF to IS.

Tuesday’s attacks follow two blasts that occurred last month – a bus explosion near Kampala that wounded many people and a bombing at a roadside eatery in the capital that killed one woman.

Police said both of those explosions were carried out by the ADF. It also blamed the group for a foiled bomb attack in August during the funeral of an army commander who led a major offensive against Al-Shabaab militants in Somalia.

The ADF has been accused of killing thousands of civilians in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. It is considered by experts to be the bloodiest of more than 120 armed groups that roam eastern DRC, many of them a legacy of two regional wars a quarter of a century ago.

In his reaction to the latest explosions, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said the government will go after the terrorists.

“They have exposed themselves when we are more ready for urban terrorism. They will perish. Rural terrorism was defeated in 2007 in the Semliki National Park. I am referring to the dead terrorists as manipulated victims of confusion.”

He called them pigs, saying, “the real pigs are people like Nsubuga, the so-called sheikh that confused young people at Lweza,” adding that if blowing oneself up will send one to heaven, the sheikh should blow himself up as an example instead of manipulating young children.

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