Thirty-three people have been injured and three killed in a series of suicide bombings in Uganda on Tuesday police say seems to be the work of an East African radical Islamic group linked to the Islamic State.
The attack, in Kampala, the capital of Uganda, occurred in the city’s business district and involved four attackers.
The Wall Street Journal reported, “The first attacker detonated a backpack at a checkpoint near Kampala’s central police station, said Mr. Enanga. The second attack was carried out by two people riding motorcycles near the main entrance of Uganda’s Parliament.”
A fourth terrorist was stopped by police before he was able to set off his bomb. Police officials believe that the attacks were carried out by an affiliate of the Islamic State in Uganda, the Allied Democratic Forces.
“Our intelligence indicates that these are domestic terror attacks, linked to the ADF,” said Fred Enanga, a police spokesman. “We believe there are still very many suicide attackers out there. The threat is being directed at all Ugandans.”
Threats from Islamic terror groups seem to be on the rise in the African nation, and Ugandan officials have warned of future attacks. The first attack by ISIS-affiliated terrorists in Uganda happened last month, in a bombing that left one woman dead according to The Wall Street Journal.
“The bomb threats are still active, especially from suicide attackers,” Enanga said, “We believe there are still more members of these domestic terror cells, especially the suicide bomb squad that has been created by the ADF.”
Islamic terror is not new to the region. Troops from Uganda have also been at work fighting an al-Qaeda affiliate, al-Shabab, in Somalia. As Reuters noted, Ugandan officials have worked with Western allies to fend off Islamic terror in the country for years.
Two police officers were reportedly among the dead and witnesses detailed the violent aftermath of the bombings.
“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,” one witness told Reuters.
Some analysts say that the rise of the ADF in Uganda is bringing other militants outside of Uganda into the east African nation.
“With the more recent affiliation of its main faction to ISIS [Islamic State], a number of foreigners from across East Africa with more globalist jihadist agendas have been arriving into its camps,” said Dino Mahtani of the International Crisis Group.
Outside of Africa, ISIS has also been active in the Middle East, with recent attacks in Iraq and Afghanistan.
According to The Straits Times, the Taliban has launched an effort to counter growing attacks from ISIS-K, the ISIS affiliate in Afghanistan. Some attacks have been on hospitals and mosques.
“So far, four Daesh (ISIS-K) fighters have been killed and 10 arrested… One of them blew himself up inside a house,” Taliban provincial police chief Abdul Ghafar Mohammadi said.
Last month, undersecretary of defense for policy Colin Kahl expressed skepticism that the Taliban would be able to effectively counter ISIS-K.
“It is our assessment that the Taliban and ISIS-K are mortal enemies. So the Taliban is highly motivated to go after ISIS-K. Their ability to do so, I think, is to be determined,” Kahl said.
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