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Kenya on high alert after Uganda double suicide bombings

Wednesday November 17 2021
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Kenya's National Police Service (NPS) on high alert following suicide bombings in neighbouring Uganda. PHOTO | NPS | TWITTER

By The EastAfrican

Kenyan police are on high alert following the twin explosions that hit Uganda's capital Kampala on Tuesday in which three people were killed and 33 wounded.

Security has been beefed up in all installations and towns across Kenya and along the border points. Police have urged the public to stay alert and report suspicious activities to the nearest station or using the toll free lines 999/112.

“The National Police Service (NPS) assures the public of their security and safety following terror-related incidents in our neighbouring country earlier today. Our sympathies to victims and families who were affected by such an atrocious act,” NPS tweeted on Tuesday.

Three attackers on motorcycles blew themselves up near Parliament and the city’s police headquarters. Two officers were among the dead in the blasts that occurred at 10.03am and 10.06am.

Suicide bomber

The first happened near the checkpoint to the Central Police Station when a man wearing a black jacket and carrying a backpack detonated himself.

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The second occurred three minutes later along Parliament Avenue. Two suicide bombers who were riding on motorcycles detonated themselves.

The injured were rushed to Mulago National Referral Hospital.

A fourth suicide bomber was arrested and Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) were recovered at his home in Nansana village.

“Our thoughts are with those who have lost their loved ones. We also wish a speedy recovery to the injured,” Uganda's police spokesperson Fred Enanga said in a statement.

Ugandan authorities linked the attacks to radicalised groups attached to the Allied Democratic Forces, a branch of the Islamic State (IS). ADF is an Islamist rebel group in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo and it is considered a terrorist organisation.

Explosives used in all the attacks were made from common household items. Ugandan police called on the public to exercise extra vigilance and report suspicious activities, such as persons buying large amounts of chemicals and materials that can be used to make bombs.

“It shows the groups still desire to carry out lethal attacks on soft targets using suicide bombers and IEDs,” he said.

The attacks happened barely three weeks after another explosion killed a waitress at a restaurant in the city after three suspects disguised as customers deliberately left their package under a table.

Crude device

Ugandan police had said the October 24 explosion had been caused by a crude device assembled using local materials composed of nails and other metallic fragments. Composite photos of two of the three suspects have since been released to the public.

On October 25, a suicide bomber detonated himself on a Swift Safaris bus, killing two and injuring many others along the Kampala-Masaka highway.

The suicide bomber was later identified as Isaac Matovu, 23, a resident of Kireka. He was on the security’s wanted list for being a member of ADF.

The bus was travelling from Kampala to Bushenyi with 50 passengers. Security agencies are now pursuing members of the terror groups.

ADF was formed in the late 1990s in opposition to Uganda’s long-serving President, Yoweri Museveni. In recent years, its attacks began to be claimed by IS.

Ugandan forces are also part of an African Union peacekeeping force in Somalia fighting Al-Shabaab, an insurgent group allied to Al-Qaeda.

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