Ugandan police say 3 killed by suicide bombers in country’s capital


Two explosions rocked Uganda’s capital, Kampala, early Tuesday, killing at least three civilians in what police described as a co-ordinated attack by extremists.

Three suicide bombers also died in the blasts, police said. The explosions caused chaos in Kampala as terrified residents fled the city’s centre.

“The bomb threats are still active, especially from suicide attackers,” police spokesperson Fred Enanga said, blaming the blasts on 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, Enanga said.

Security forces secure the scene of a blast on a street near the parliamentary building in Kampala. (Hajarah Nalwadda/The Associated Press)

One blast was near a police station and the other on a street near the parliamentary building, according to police and witnesses. 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.

Dozens injured

At least 33 people are being treated at the city’s main public referral hospital, 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, footage posted on social media showed.

Ugandan officials have been urging vigilance in the wake of a string of bomb explosions in recent weeks.

Medical staff prepare a stretcher to receive victims of the explosion, at Mulago hospital, in Kampala. (Sumy Sadruni/AFP/Getty Images)

One person was killed and at least seven others wounded in an explosion at a restaurant in a suburb of Kampala on Oct. 23.

Another explosion two days later on a passenger bus killed only the suicide bomber, according to police.

Attacks bear ‘hallmarks’ of terror group: police

Even before those attacks, the U.K. government had updated its Uganda travel advisory to say 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 Oct. 23 attack on the eatery. Enanga, the police spokesman, said Tuesday’s attacks bore “the hallmarks” of the work of this group, although there was no immediate claim of responsibility.

At least 150 planned attacks have recently been defused, he said, describing a “domestic terror group” eager to carry out more attacks.

The Allied Democratic Forces has long been opposed to the rule of longtime 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 over Uganda’s deployment of troops to Somalia, the group 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.

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