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Uganda police foil bomb attack on church

September 3, 2023

The attacker was detained by police as he was entering church grounds and an explosive device was found in his backpack. Authorities are now searching for accomplices who allegedly planned attacks elsewhere in Uganda.

Ugandan police outside of Pentecostal church that was site of bomb threat
Ugandan police say they have detained a man who brought an explosive device to a Pentecostal church in the capital, KampalaImage: ABUBAKER LUBOWA/REUTERS

Police in Uganda said on Sunday that they had foiled a bomb attack on a church in the capital, Kampala.

They said the attacker was detained as he was entering church grounds..

What else do we know about the attempted attack?

Hundreds of churchgoers were evacuated from the Lubaga Miracle Centre Cathedral after the failed attack, police spokesman Patrick Onyango said.

Worshippers at Lubaga Miracle Center
The suspect's target was a Pentecostal church in Kampala's Rubaga DivisionImage: ABUBAKER LUBOWA/REUTERS

"We have carried out a controlled detonation of the improvised explosive device which was made of nails, a motorcycle battery, a charger and a telephone handset which was to be used in the attack," he added.

He said that security personnel had had intelligence on the plot and had tracked the assailant. The bomb was discovered in the man's backpack after he was stopped and searched.

"We got information that one terrorist had already been sent out to go and carry out a mission, so they followed the terrorist," he said.

Onyango said that the man had admitted to having three accomplices who were to carry out similar attacks elsewhere in the country. "He's helping us locate those people," the police spokesperson said.

Police have warned of possible attacks on populated areas and shopping centers.

Other attacks in Uganda

The motives for the attempted attack on Sunday were initially unclear.

The Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), which are linked to the "Islamic State" (IS) terrorist group, have previously carried out deadly bomb attacks in Uganda.

ADF was initially a Ugandan rebel group but fled to the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo two decades ago.

In June, ADF militants crossed the border from Congo and killed 42 people, including 37 students, in a school attack.

This was Uganda's worst attack since two bombings in Kampala in 2010 killed 76 people in a strike claimed by the al-Shabab group, which is based in Somalia and aligned with al-Qaeda.

sdi/lo (AFP, Reuters)