UPDF speaks out on suspected suicide bomber arrested at Lokech’s funeral

BIG STORY: The joint intelligence security forces on Thursday arrested a suspected suicide bomber who was allegedly planning to blow up mourners at the funeral of the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Maj. Gen. Paul Lokech.

The suspect has been identified as Abdul Katumba alias Ben linked to the Allied Democratic Force (ADF) and the Somalia-based Al Shabaab terrorist groups.

According to the Uganda People’s Defence Force spokesperson, Brig Flavia Byekwaso, Katumba with another person (currently on the run) had a mission to plot an attack on mourners at Lokech’s burial in 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.

She added that 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 to revenge on the people who were mourning the deceased’s death 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, the Lokech became to be commonly known as ‘The Lion of Mogadishu’.

The preliminary investigations indicate that upon searching his 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,” said Byekwaso.

It has also been established that the key suspect, who is currently being kept in one of the highly placed security detention centres is linked to the Allied Democratic Force (ADF) and the Somalia-based Al Shabaab terrorist group.

Security is also planning to retrieve the CCTV footage from the cameras at the residence of Lokech in Kira, as well as his neighboring areas to ascertain the movements of the perpetrators.

Sources in security intimated that the culprits had since July planned to make a massive attack bigger than that of July 11, 2010, which claimed the lives of about 74 people and left more than 80 with serious injuries.

“As we continue monitoring the situation, we shall be coming out with an official statement to update the public about the matter,” Byekwaso said.

Lokech will be buried today (Friday) in his home district of Pader.

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