In Uganda, Islamic State group claims bomb attack in Kampala cafe

The Islamic State (IS) group claimed to have carried out a bomb attack in the Ugandan capital Kampala, which left at least one dead and several injured on the evening of Saturday, October 23, according to a statement released on Sunday via an affiliate account on Telegram messaging. The action was carried out in a popular restaurant in the Komamboga district where there were “Members and spies of the Crusader Ugandan government”, specifies the text.

Ugandan police spokesman Fred Enanga said the alleged perpetrators arrived around 8:30 p.m. (5.30 p.m. GMT), carrying a plastic bag which they placed under a table. “The suspects set off the explosion of the device shortly after leaving the place”, about thirty minutes after their arrival, he explained, describing an explosive device ” summary “ containing nails and pieces of metal.

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The explosion claimed the life of 20-year-old waitress Emily Nyinaneza. Three injured were hospitalized, two of them in critical condition. A national curfew aimed at tackling the Covid-19 pandemic is still in effect from 7 p.m. in Uganda, but it is not uniformly observed.

Hours before the attack was claimed, President Yoweri Museveni said on his Twitter account: “It appears to be a terrorist act. (…) The population has nothing to fear, we will overcome this crime as we have overcome others, committed by pigs that do not respect human life. “

Several attacks in a few months

The country has already declared the target of the jihadist group on several occasions. On October 8, the Islamic State (IS) organization claimed responsibility for a bombing of a police station in Kawempe, near where Saturday’s explosion occurred.

In August, Uganda claimed to have foiled a suicide bombing targeting the national funeral of a senior army official, Paul Lokech, who had notably led the fight in Somalia against Islamist rebels Chabab, linked to Al-QaIda. , as the commander of the African Union operation in that country, Amisom.

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He had also participated in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in an operation by the Ugandan army against the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a Muslim rebel group that appeared in Uganda but which has taken root for nearly thirty years in the DRC, where he is accused of having killed thousands of civilians. President Museveni blamed the attempted attack on General Lokech’s funeral “ADF terrorists”.

IS presents the ADF as its branch in Central Africa. In March, the United States placed this group on the list of “Terrorist organizations” affiliated with ISIS.

A very tense context

In July, Ugandan police announced that they had arrested four suspects and killed a fifth in the investigation into an assassination attempt against transport minister and former army chief General Edward Katumba Wamala, attributed to a “Terrorist cell”. The suspects had trained with the ADF in the DRC and had “Started to reactivate local terrorist cells” in Uganda, police said.

General Katumba Wamala was shot and wounded on 1er June north of Kampala by masked motorcyclists who attacked his vehicle, killing his daughter and one of his bodyguards.

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In 2010, two bombings in Kampala targeting supporters attending the FIFA World Cup final left 76 people dead. They had been claimed by the Somali Shabab and seen as retaliation for Uganda’s participation in Amisom.

This new attack comes in a very tense context. Ten months after Yoweri Museveni’s contested re-election for a sixth term, the crackdown on the opposition continues. On Friday, six members of the Afiego (Africa Institute for Energy Governance), one of the main local NGOs committed against the Total Energies megaproject for oil exploitation in the Lake Albert region, were arrested on Friday October 22 and placed in custody. detention in a Kampala police station. Afiego is one of fifty-four NGOs shut down by Ugandan authorities in August for alleged breaches of the law.

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Le Monde with AFP and Reuters

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