In a significant development, a militia commander belonging to the ADF (Allied Democratic Forces) has been arrested for the brutal murder of two foreign tourists in Uganda. The commander, identified as Abdul Rashid Kyoto, also known as Njovu, now faces additional charges related to a school massacre that took place in June. This revelation was made by a Ugandan general on Friday, shedding light on the commander’s alleged involvement in multiple heinous acts.
The arrest of Kyoto and the demise of six other members of the commando group were announced by the Ugandan army on Thursday. These individuals were accused of carrying out the shocking killings of a British and a South African honeymooner, as well as their guide, in Queen Elizabeth Park on October 17.
The ADF rebels, known for their affiliation with the jihadist group Islamic State, have faced previous allegations by Ugandan authorities for their involvement in attacks. These include the assault on a school in Mpondwe on June 17, resulting in the tragic deaths of 42 people. Another attack occurred on October 28 in Kasindi, located in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), claiming the lives of four individuals, including two Ugandan soldiers.
General Dick Olum, who leads the anti-ADF operation in the DRC, emphasised the connection between these three attacks and Kyoto’s command. “It was the same Njovu, alias Abdul Rashid Kyoto, who commanded these attacks and the attack on the two tourists and their guide,” stated General Olum during an interview with AFP. He further revealed that substantial information regarding the ADF’s activities and the leaders behind these violent missions has been gathered.
The capture of Kyoto brings a sense of reassurance to both Ugandans and tourists alike, assuring them of ongoing operations aimed at ensuring safety and defeating the ADF. The murders of the two tourists in one of Uganda’s renowned parks had raised concerns within the tourism sector, which significantly contributes to the country’s GDP.
Originally a rebel group with a Muslim majority in Uganda, the ADF expanded its operations to the eastern part of the DRC during the 1990s. In 2019, they pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, which claims responsibility for certain actions conducted by the ADF and presents them as its “Central African Province” (Iscap).
The ADF has been accused of perpetrating massacres of thousands of civilians in the DRC in recent years, in addition to carrying out jihadist attacks on Ugandan soil. In response to these activities, a Ugandan court handed down sentences ranging from seven to ten years of imprisonment to seven individuals, including a 75-year-old man, for their involvement with the ADF. The convicts pleaded guilty to charges of belonging to a “terrorist organisation,” financing terrorism, and trafficking children for recruitment into the ADF. Disturbingly, one of them admitted to recruiting his own children into the ADF and committing acts of rape.
The arrest of the ADF militia commander, along with the prosecution of individuals linked to the group, represents a significant step in combating the threat posed by the ADF and safeguarding the security and well-being of Ugandans and visitors to the country.