By Nelson Naturinda,
Suspected Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) on Tuesday evening attacked and killed two foreign tourists as well as a local citizen at Kasese in Western Uganda, according to security sources. The attacks happened on Katwe Road between Lake Nyamununka and Kabatooro within Queen Elizabeth National Park.
“We have confirmed a cowardly terrorist attack on two foreign tourists and a local citizen in Queen Elizabeth National Park. The three were killed and their safari vehicle burnt. Our joint forces responded immediately upon receiving the information and are aggressively pursuing the suspected ADF rebels. We express our deepest condolences to families of the victims,” part of a statement from the Uganda Police said.
Gruesome pictures of the bodies were shared on social media as well as the burning vehicle in Uganda’s biggest national park, located at the foothills of Mount Rwenzori, which is close to the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, where a UPDF operation since November 2021 has been battling to root out the rebels.
Last week, the rebels raided Kasese again, shooting one person dead and setting a trailer ablaze at Mpondwe Lhubiriha border, where the rebel group burnt 41 school children in June this year, incoming security information shows.
The victim was travelling in the trailer with three others, one of whom was seriously injured and is currently admitted at Bwera General Hospital, while a woman occupant survived uninjured. The fourth traveler has not yet been found, Col Deo Akiiki, the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces Deputy Spokesperson said.
“An estimated five-armed ADF elements ambushed a trailer at 1:00am which was carrying onions from Kisoro to Mpondwe Lhubiriha border and burnt it,” he said in an internal memo.
“This happened at Katojo Junction along Bwera-Kinyamaseke-Kasese Road in Kasese District. The trailer had four occupants,” he added.
The recent attacks come after recent statements by President Yoweri Museveni hailed the UPDF Airforce for air strikes against the ADF further inside Congo, in the rebel group’s bases in Mambasa area, which is outside the territory Uganda’s Mountain Brigade was not allowed to deploy.
The President said last week’s attack was done by the ADF who are running away from fire in their bases in Congo.
“This is to inform you that on October 14, 2023, our fighter-bombers paid a visit to the ADF terrorists at 4 different points,” said Museveni.
“These points were at: 72 kms, 120 kms, 69 kms and 130 kms from the border on the Bundibugyo-Semiliki side. It seems quite a number of terrorists were killed,” he added.
Museveni further said, “As a consequence, the terrorists are running from Congo which they thought was haven and re-entering Uganda and trying to commit some random terrorist acts.”
In the same communication, Museveni urged the public to “look out for strange people that come to your area” and “Report them to the Police that are nearest to you.”
He added: “Even relatives that have been away for a long time and suddenly return. They may be part of the terrorists.”
Two weeks earlier, President Museveni had revealed, in another statement, that UPDF had carried out airstrikes on September 16, 2023, to attack “four ADF terrorists’ targets that were between kms 100 and kms 150 from the Ugandan border on the Ntoroko side.”
These targets had been located by assets from the army’s SDR which have good reconnaissance capability, and accordingly, a lot of rebels were killed, including Meddie Nkalubo, whom the president described as the notorious leader and author of the bombs that security intercepted and safely detonated in several locations in Kampala early last month.