Security Agencies Thwart Terror Plot On Namugongo Pilgrims

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Ugandan security agencies have thwarted a planned terror attack by the DRC-based Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) targeting pilgrims at Namugongo during this year’s Martyrs Day celebrations on June 3.

The plot, uncovered by intelligence sources, prompted the formation of a special anti-terrorism squad to ensure the safety of the more than one million expected pilgrims.

Security sources revealed that 14 ADF terrorists had infiltrated Uganda about a month ago with plans to carry out attacks during the celebrations. The counter-terrorism (CT) unit, in collaboration with the defence intelligence and security (DIS) forces, formerly known as the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI), acted on this intelligence last Wednesday. They raided a hideout in Mityana district, resulting in the death of a wanted ADF terrorist, Yasin Ddamulira.

According to Col. Deo Akiiki, deputy defence public information officer, Ddamulira’s death came after DIS detected communications indicating his involvement in the planned attacks.

Ddamulira was previously implicated in the 2021 Kampala bombings that killed five civilians and one police officer, injuring 23 police officers and 10 civilians.

Upon examining Ddamulira’s phone and other communication devices, security forces confirmed that he had returned to Uganda a week ago to oversee the attacks on the Namugongo pilgrims.
“Ddamulira was killed, but his phone and communication materials showed he had come to ensure pilgrims were attacked before or during Martyrs Day celebrations,” sources stated.

In response, a special anti-terrorism squad has been formed, comprising the Special Forces Command (SFC), the police’s counter-terrorism unit, DIS, and crime intelligence. This team is tasked with preventing any acts of terrorism aimed at the pilgrims.

Patrick Onyango, Kampala metropolitan police spokesperson, confirmed the receipt of terror-related intelligence and emphasized that all security agencies and personnel at Namugongo have been alerted.

“We ask the pilgrims to be extra careful and report any suspicious objects,” Onyango said. “We have channelled the 999 call centre to Namugongo, and any call made will be received there.”

By Thursday, three trucks of SFC soldiers were deployed at strategic locations in Namugongo, and CT officers, accompanied by bomb squads from both the police and military, were stationed at entrance and exit points.

Meanwhile, the Ugandan government has disbursed Shs 1.1 billion to the organizing committees at the Catholic and Anglican shrines and Shs 200 million to the Muslim committee. However, the Catholic Shrines organizing committee reported a shortfall of Shs 700 million needed to meet their budget.

The Minister of State for Tourism, Wildlife, and Antiquities, Martin Mugarra, assured that all plans for Martyrs Day would be financially supported.

Betty Amongi, Minister for Gender, Labour and Social Development, highlighted the government’s commitment to ensuring the successful and safe commemoration of Martyrs Day, urging all stakeholders to cooperate and remain vigilant.

The enhanced security measures and government support aim to ensure that the Martyrs Day celebrations proceed peacefully, honouring the memory of the martyrs without disruption.

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