In a significant step towards reconciliation, a militia commander responsible for the brutal murder of two foreign tourists in Uganda now faces charges related to a school massacre, according to a statement made by a Ugandan general on Friday.
The commander, identified as Abdul Rashid Kyoto, also known as Njovu, was apprehended on Tuesday, along with six other members of the commando group 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. However, the revelations now connect Kyoto to a school massacre that took place in June, further highlighting the extent of his alleged crimes.
The ADF rebels, affiliated with the jihadist group Islamic State, have previously faced accusations from Ugandan authorities for their involvement in heinous attacks. These include an assault on a school in the western town of Mpondwe on June 17, resulting in the tragic loss of 42 lives. 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 correlation 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. He further expressed confidence in the wealth of information gathered on the ADF and the leaders responsible for orchestrating these violent acts.
The arrest of Kyoto is expected to bring a sense of reassurance to both Ugandans and tourists, underscoring the 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.
The ADF, originally a rebel group with a Muslim majority in Uganda, 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).
Efforts to address the threat posed by the ADF and provide justice for the victims have led to the recent sentencing of seven individuals in a Ugandan court. These individuals, including a 75-year-old man, pleaded guilty to charges of belonging to a “terrorist organisation,” financing terrorism, and trafficking children for recruitment into the ADF. Shockingly, one of them also 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.