Uganda Arrests Six for Church Bomb Plot Linked to Islamist Group

Ugandan police on Sunday announced the arrest of a suspect in connection with a plot to bomb a church in the capital city of Kampala.

Five more arrests were announced on Tuesday, and more explosive devices were reportedly recovered, suggesting a major terrorist attack linked to an Islamist insurgent group called the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) had been thwarted.

The first suspect, 28-year-old Kintu Ibrahim, was arrested as he attempted to enter the crowded Lubaga Miracle Center Cathedral, a Pentecostal church in Kampala, during services. Ibrahim was carrying a bag containing an improvised explosive device (IED) at the time of his arrest.

“We got information that one terrorist had already been sent out to go and carry out a mission, so they followed the terrorist,” said police spokesman Patrick Onyango.

Onyango said Ibrahim told the police he was working with three others who were dispatched to carry out similar bomb attacks, and he was willing to help locate them.

On Monday, the police announced a total of five more arrests and the confiscation of six more IEDs. The bombs, which were packed with nails to inflict maximum casualties, were safely detonated by police technicians.

“We recovered more bombs from a private home in Lungujja. The occupants of the home were not around and we are looking for them,” police spokesman Fred Enanga said on Monday.

Ugandan officials warned a “threat environment still exists” and recommended vigilance for “suspicious objects, unusual activity, or behavior” as citizens shop, travel, and worship.

The ADF is a Ugandan rebel group that was largely driven into the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in the 1990s.

The group mutated into an Islamist insurgency, recruiting Congolese and Ugandans to fight a brutal terrorist war that would replace the governments of both countries with an Islamic “caliphate,” like the one carved out of Syria and Iraq by the Islamic State. 

The ADF swore allegiance to ISIS in 2019 and renewed its pledge in April 2022. ISIS has periodically targeted Uganda for terrorist attacks, ostensibly because Uganda sent troops to help fight jihadists in Somalia. Security experts believe ISIS sees an opportunity to destabilize central African governments and gain control of valuable natural resources.


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