A 23-year-old man with ties to Islamists in Uganda blew himself up on a packed passenger bus which was travelling from the capital Kampala to one of the country’s southern provinces on Monday evening, local police said.
Incredibly, all 52 passengers survived, though several were injured.
A police spokesperson described the explosion as a suicide bomb attack, adding that the suspect was “on the wanted list”.
In a string of tweets, Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni said the man suspected of carrying out the attack belonged to a terrorist network known as the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF).
This is to inform you that the person who died in the Ishaka – bound bus yesterday, was a terrorist (mutujju) by the names of Muzafala, but also calling himself Isaac Matovu.
Back in March, the US Department of State warned that the ADF insurgents have ties to Islamic State and are part of the Islamists’ drive to expand their presence in Africa.
Commenting on Monday’s explosion, Museveni tweeted that it is still not clear whether the suspect actually intended to set off the bomb on the bus or if it exploded accidentally. He also said that much of the group the bus bomber was part of had already either been arrested or killed.
What is not yet clear, is whether Muzafala blew himself up accidentally while carrying the bomb on his lap or he did so deliberately. However, he was being followed by CMI squads. We shall get all of them.
Monday’s blast comes hard on the heels of a deadly attack on Saturday, when a bomb killed a 20-year-old woman and injured three other people at a roadside café in Kampala’s suburbs. On Monday, the so-called Islamic State’s Central Africa Province claimed responsibility for that attack. Police believe there is a link between the two bombings.
ADF insurgents are also active in the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo, where since 2013 they have killed some 6,000 civilians, according to the local Catholic Church.
In recent years, international terrorist groups – mainly ISIL and Al-Qaeda – have shifted their focus from the Middle East, where they have lost much of their territory, to the African continent. Affiliated groups have gained something of a foothold in countries like Mali, Nigeria, Niger, Somalia and Mozambique; in the Sahel region, Islamists currently control large swathes of territory and regularly engage government forces.
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