BY INNOCENT KIIZA
Kiiza is an accomplished environmental investigative journalist with a dedicated focus on matters pertaining to climate change, aquatic resources, and the preservation of wildlife.
In a shocking and tragic incident, a group of suspected Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) terrorists launched a deadly attack on tourists and their guide as they were exploring the captivating beauty of Queen Elizabeth National Park in Kasese District. The attack claimed the lives of two foreign tourists, one from the United Kingdom and another from South Africa, and their Ugandan guide.
The devastating incident unfolded on the evening of Tuesday, October 17th, at Nyamunuka along Katwe Road. The Uganda Wildlife Authority’s communication officer, Bashir Hangi, confirmed this horrifying act of terror. He revealed that the victims were in the midst of an unforgettable wildlife trek when they fell prey to yet unknown assailants whose actions reek of terrorism.
Tragically, the perpetrators of this heinous act not only ended innocent lives but also set fire to the tourists’ vehicles, an act that defies comprehension and humanity.
This attack follows closely on the heels of President Yoweri K. Museveni’s recent address to the nation on October 14th, wherein he informed the public that the Uganda People’s Defense Force (UPDF) had carried out a series of successful airstrikes on ADF terrorist positions. These operations had taken place at four different points, with varying distances from the border of Bundibugyo-Semuliki side.
In his address, President Museveni stated that as a result of these military actions, ADF terrorists were fleeing from the Democratic Republic of Congo, which they had considered a sanctuary, and re-entering Uganda with the aim of carrying out random acts of terror.
While the victims’ identities are being withheld at this stage, Hangi disclosed that they were traveling with Gorilla and Wildlife Safaris, a local private tour company. Investigations are currently underway to ascertain the circumstances surrounding the attack and the identities of the victims.
In response to the incident, the Uganda Wildlife Authority has transferred the matter to the police, who are collaborating closely with the UPDF to meticulously determine the sequence of events and identify those responsible. Bashir Hangi extended heartfelt condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims, emphasizing that, during this difficult time, the Uganda Wildlife Authority shares in their grief.
In a plea to the public, Hangi urged citizens to remain calm and patient, allowing the security agencies to carry out a thorough and unhindered investigation.
This tragic incident is part of a series of ADF terrorist attacks that have rocked the Kasese region in 2023. Just four months ago, on June 17th, ADF terrorists launched a gruesome attack on Lhubirihl-Mpondhe secondary school, resulting in the loss of 40 young lives. The victims suffered unimaginable horrors, and their remains were burnt beyond recognition.
Another attack targeted a truck transporting onions to a market across the border in the Democratic Republic of Congo, near Bwera-Kasese. It is strongly suspected that the same group of terrorists was responsible for this act. This attack, like the others, claimed the lives of several individuals, including a businesswoman, a turn boy, and the truck’s driver.
Security agencies in Kasese are urging the public to remain vigilant and report any suspicious individuals in their communities. This includes reporting the sudden return of long-absent relatives, as they may be potential recruits or collaborators of the terrorists. The safety and security of the region are of paramount importance, and every effort is being made to prevent further acts of terror.