By Ambrose Gahene
A suspected suicide bomber was arrested on Thursday by the Joint Intelligence security forces. The suspect, who was allegedly planning to blow up mourners at the late Maj Gen Paul Lokech funeral, was identified as Abdul Katumba, alias Ben, linked to the Allied Democratic Force (ADF) and the Somalia-based Al Shabaab terrorist groups.
The Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) spokesperson, Brig Flavia Byekwaso, said Katumba with another person (currently on the run) had a mission to plot an attack on mourners at Lokech’s burial at Baibir Village in Pader District.
“We have learnt that Katumba was with another person in the mission but he managed to sneak off and we are currently hunting for his whereabouts,” Byekwaso said.
Byekwaso in addition said the duo started planning for their mission right from Kampala, where their aim was to attack the mourners at the deceased’s Kitikifumba-based residence during the funeral service that was held on Wednesday.
“When our joint intelligence team became suspicious of them, they started trailing them until they netted them in one of the hotels in Pader district on Thursday morning,” Byekwaso explained.
According to the UPDF spokesperson, the attacker wanted revenge on the people who were mourning the deceased’s death for having suppressed the Al-Shabaab extremists and their associates in Somalia.
Lokech first commanded in Somalia in 2011 and left in 2012. He again bounced back in 2017 and left in 2018 after flashing the terrorists out of Mogadishu. Due to his successful mission in Somalia, Lokech became commonly known as ‘The Lion of Mogadishu’.
Preliminary investigations indicate that upon searching Katumba’s room, security seized a suicide jacket and other explosives which were going to be used in the attack.
“Having failed to execute their mission at the deceased’s home in Kampala, the attackers decided to travel to his home district in Pader in order to fulfill their agenda, but we thank God our intelligence team finally managed to block them,” Byekwaso added.