Blasts in Uganda: Suicide bombers target capital Kampala, IS links suspected

WION Web Team
New Delhi Published: Nov 16, 2021, 07:58 PM(IST)

People extinguish fire on cars caused by a bomb explosion near Parliament building in Kampala, Uganda, on November 16, 2021. Two explosions hit Uganda's capital Kampala on November 16, 2021, injuring a number of people in what police termed an attack on the city, the latest in a string of blasts targeting the country. The explosions occurred in the central business district of Kampala near the central police station and the entrance to parliament, police said. Photograph:( AFP )

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The blasts have claimed at least three lives and have injured dozens. The death toll is feared to increase. Uganda is seen as bulwark against Islamic terrorism in Africa

Three suicide bombings killed at least three people in Ugandan capital Kampala on Tuesday. Dozens have been arrested in the bombings in a country that is seen as a stable bulwark against Islamic extremism in Africa.

At least 33 people were being treated in hospital, including five who were in critical condition, police spokesperson Fred Enanga said.

The death toll including the three bombers was six, Enanga said.

A diplomat told Reuters two police were among the victims. Enanga confirmed the death toll included police but declined to give further details.

Uganda Blast

There was no immediate claim of responsibility but police cited intelligence indications to say that Islamic State-aligned Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) were responsible.

"Our intelligence ... indicates that these are domestic terror groups that are linked to ADF," Enanga said.

The explosions - the first near the central police station and the second very close to parliament - sent bloodied office workers rushing for cover over shards of broken glass as a plume of white smoke rose above the downtown area.

A suicide bomber wearing a backpack carried out the first blast near the checkpoint at the police station, which killed two people, Enanga said. The second attack, involving two suicide bombers on motorbikes, killed one other person.

"A booming sound like that from a big gun went off. The ground shook, my ears nearly went deaf," said Peter Olupot, a 28-year-old bank guard who was near the attack close to parliament.

Uganda Blast

"I saw a vehicle on fire and everyone was running and panicking. I saw a boda boda (motorcycle) man - his head was smashed and covered in blood."

Anti-terrorism police caught another person who was preparing to carry out an attack, Enanga said, adding: "We are now pursuing other members of the terror group."

MILITANT GROUPS

The al Qaeda-linked Somali insurgent group al Shabaab has carried out deadly attacks in Uganda in the past, including a 2010 attack that killed 70 people.

Ugandan soldiers are fighting al Shabaab in Somalia as part of an U.N.-backed African Union peacekeeping force. An al Shabab spokesman was not immediately available for comment.

The ADF is a separate group, founded by Ugandan Muslims but now largely active in the forested mountains of the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo, where it has been blamed for thousands of civilian deaths.

Last month, Islamic State made its first claim of responsibility for a blast in Uganda - an attack on a police station in Kampala's Kawempe neighbourhood in which no one was killed.

(With inputs from agencies)

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