The second suspect the foiled a suicide bomb attack against the state funeral of a top Ugandan police and army commander is yet to be apprehended, authorities have said.
The suicide bombing targeted mourners in Pader District at the burial of Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Gen Paul Lokech, who led a major African Union (AU) offensive against Al-Shabaab militants in Somalia.
A source close to the operation that seized components of a homemade bomb told the Daily Monitor that one of the suicide bombers escaped from the scene on Friday night and security personnel were on his trail.
The source said the two suspects had a mission to attack mourners at Gen Lokech’s burial Saturday in Baibir village, northern Uganda.
“We have learnt that [Abdul] Katumba was with another person in the mission, but he managed to sneak away and we are hunting him,” he said.
One suspect arrested
On Thursday afternoon, joint intelligence security forces arrested Katumba, who was allegedly planning to blow up mourners at the funeral of Lt Gen Lokech.
Security sources say Katumba, alias Ben, is linked to the Allied Democratic Force (ADF) rebels and Al-Shabaab Islamic militant terror group in Somalia.
It is reported that the two first planned to attack mourners at Gen Lokech’s home in Kitikifumba Kira, on the outskirts of Kampala, during the funeral service early last week.
Brig Flavia Byekwaso, the UPDF spokesperson, confirmed the arrest of Katumba in a press statement she issued on Friday.
“When our joint intelligence team became suspicious of them, they started trailing them until they netted them from Mikicha Guest House in Pader Town Council on Thursday morning,” she said.
The UPDF spokesperson said the suspects wanted to attack mourners in retaliation for Gen Lokech’s suppression and defeat of Al-Shabaab extremists and their associates in Somalia.
Mission to Somalia
Gen Lokech first took command of the AU peacekeeping soldiers under the African Union Mission to Somalia (Amisom) in 2011 and left in 2012. He returned in 2017 and left in 2018 after flashing the terrorists out of Somalia capital Mogadishu.
When security personnel searched Katumba’s room at Mikicha Guest House, they reportedly recovered homemade bombs, bomb carrier bags, ball bearings, suicide vets, detonators, mobile phones used to detonate bombs, ammonium sulphate, switches and wires which were to be used in their deadly mission.