2 Explosions Hit Ugandan Capital, Killing 3
KAMPALA, Uganda — Two explosions rocked Uganda’s capital, Kampala, early Tuesday, killing at least three civilians in what the police described as a coordinated attack by extremists.
Three suicide bombers also died in the blasts, the police said, with witnesses reporting that one was near a police station and the other on a street near Parliament. The explosions caused chaos in Kampala as terrified residents fled the city’s center.
“The bomb threats are still active, especially from suicide attackers,” said a police spokesman, Fred Enanga, attributing the blasts to the Allied Democratic Forces, an Islamic extremist group.
The twin explosions occurred within three minutes of each other. Both were carried out by attackers carrying explosives. A possible attack on a third target was foiled by police who pursued and disarmed a suspected suicide bomber, Mr. Enanga said.
The explosion near Parliament appeared to hit closer to a building housing an insurance company, and the subsequent fire engulfed cars parked outside. Body parts were seen scattered in the street, and later some lawmakers were seen evacuating the parliamentary building nearby.
At least 33 people were being treated at the city’s main public referral hospital, Mr. Enanga told reporters. Five are critically injured, he said.
People scampered to leave the city in the aftermath of the attacks, many on passenger motorcycles, as police cordoned off wide areas near the blast scenes, videos posted on social media showed.
Ugandan officials have been urging vigilance in the wake of a string of bomb explosions in recent weeks.
One person was killed and at least seven others wounded in an explosion at a restaurant in a suburb of Kampala on Oct. 23.
Two days later, another blast on a passenger bus killed only the suicide bomber, according to the police.
Even before those attacks, the British government had updated its Uganda travel advisory to warn that extremists “are very likely to try to carry out attacks” in the East African country.
The Allied Democratic Forces, an affiliate of the Islamic State group in central Africa, claimed responsibility for the attack on the restaurant.
That group has long been opposed to the rule of President Yoweri Museveni, a U.S. security ally who was the first African leader to deploy peacekeepers in Somalia to protect the federal government from the extremist group Al Shabab.
In retaliation for Uganda’s deployment of troops to Somalia, Al Shabab carried out attacks in 2010 that killed at least 70 people who had assembled in public places in Kampala to watch a World Cup soccer game.
But the Allied Democratic Forces, with its local roots, has proved more of a headache to Mr. Museveni.
The group was established in the early 1990s by Ugandan Muslims who said that they had been sidelined by Mr. Museveni’s policies. At the time, the rebel group staged deadly terrorist attacks in Ugandan villages as well as in the capital, including a 1998 attack in which 80 students were massacred in a frontier town near the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo.
A Ugandan military assault later forced the rebels into eastern Congo, where many rebel groups are able to roam free because the central government has limited control there.
Reports of an alliance between the Allied Democratic Forces and the Islamic State first emerged in 2019, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which tracks the online activities of extremist organizations.