Security sources have disclosed that the commander of a militia unit responsible for the recent murder of two foreign tourists in Kasese district is also linked to the horrific school massacre that occurred in June, claiming the lives of over 30 students.
The Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) made a public announcement on Thursday regarding the apprehension and detention of the leader of a feared militia group known as the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF). This operation resulted in the elimination of several other insurgents.
Uganda has attributed both the brutal murder of tourists on their honeymoon and their local guide in October, as well as the school attack in which 42 individuals, primarily students, lost their lives, to the ADF. The assault on Mpondwe School, located near the Democratic Republic of Congo border, involved victims being subjected to hacking, shooting, and burning, marking the deadliest attack of its kind in Uganda since 2010.
Major General Dick Olum, responsible for Uganda’s military operations against the ADF in the Congo, identified the mastermind behind these attacks as Abdul Rashid Kyoto, also known as Njovu. Njovu was captured during a late-night raid conducted on a Tuesday.
Olum informed the press that intelligence indicated Njovu had also led an incursion into the Democratic Republic of Congo the previous week, resulting in the deaths of two Ugandan soldiers and two civilians. He stated, “There is a correlation between the three attacks and the command by Njovu. We have a lot of intelligence about ADF. We know who has been carrying out these missions to kill people.”
Olum emphasized that the operation leading to Njovu’s capture should instill confidence in Ugandans and visitors, assuring them of safety in Uganda as ongoing efforts continue to confront and defeat the ADF.
The ADF stands accused of committing widespread atrocities against civilians in the troubled eastern regions of the Democratic Republic of Congo and launching cross-border attacks.
In a separate development, a Ugandan court issued sentences on Thursday, ranging from seven to ten years in prison, for seven individuals facing various charges related to their association with the ADF. The defendants, which included a 75-year-old man, had confessed to belonging to a “terrorist organization,” as well as charges related to terrorism financing and child trafficking for recruitment into the ADF. Additionally, one defendant pleaded guilty to recruiting their own children into the ranks of the ADF and committing acts of rape.