Uganda investigating Islamist link to bombing after IS responsibility claim


Uganda said on Monday it was investigating whether fighters allied with the militant group Islamic State (IS) had carried out a bombing in Kampala on Saturday night that killed one person and injured three others.

The bomb, set off in a restaurant in a suburb on the northern outskirts of the capital, killing a 20-year-old waitress, was an improvised device made from nails and other metal fragments, according to the police.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the blast in a statement posted on a Telegram channel late on Sunday.

The police said their investigations pointed to “an act of domestic terror”.

“The attack was perpetrated by criminals that intend to terrorise the country and the people of Uganda,” Abbas Byakagaba, the director for counter-terrorism, told a press conference on Monday.

Byakagaba said the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), an IS-linked militant group, was one potential perpetrator.

The ADF has operated in dense forests in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo across the border with Uganda for more than three decades and began killing civilians in large numbers in 2014.

It has publicly aligned itself with Islamic State, although a June report from the United Nations found no evidence of direct support from Islamic State for the ADF.

ADF fighters have in the past been blamed for assassinations and attacks in Uganda. In July, the government blamed it for the attempted assassination of a government minister.

Police spokesman Fred Enanga told the press conference they believed the ADF had sleeper cells in the country and that they had arrested 13 of its collaborators last week.

It is only the second time IS has claimed responsibility for an attack in Uganda, after the group said on Oct. 8 it had exploded a small device inside a police station in the same suburb of Kampala, injuring several police officers.

The police have not reported that incident, however, and on Monday the police spokesman said there had been no such explosion.