By Elias Biryabarema
KAMPALA (Reuters) -A Ugandan national and two foreign tourists were killed in an attack by suspected Islamist rebels from the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) in a national park, the police said on Tuesday.
“We have registered a cowardly terrorist attack on two foreign tourists and a Ugandan in Queen Elizabeth National Park. The three were killed, and their safari vehicle burnt,” police spokesperson Fred Enanga said on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Enanga said they were pursuing suspected ADF members, and Uganda’s police posted on its X account a picture of a burning four-wheel-drive vehicle.
The ADF began as an uprising in Uganda but has been based in the Democratic Republic of Congo since the late 1990s. It pledged allegiance to Islamic State in mid-2019 and is accused of killing thousands of villagers in frequent raids over the past decade.
The police did not give a precise location for the attack. The national park’s western boundary is the shore of Lake Edward, which separates Uganda from Congo.
Bashir Hangi, spokesperson of the Uganda Wildlife Authority, said the attack took place on Tuesday evening. The wildlife authority said in a statement the one tourist was from South Africa and the other from the United Kingdom.
Rebels from ADF have previously carried out attacks in the area and across the border in Congo, where they have bases.
Uganda and Congo launched a joint ground and air operation against the ADF in December 2021 in an effort to eliminate them from eastern Congo. Uganda says it has succeeded in killing more than 560 fighters and destroyed their camps.
Last week, ADF fighters killed at least one man and injured another when it ambushed a truck in western Uganda.
In September, Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni said an air strike had killed a senior ADF commander, Meddie Nkalubo, accused of being a mastermind of suicide bombings in Kampala in 2021 that left seven people dead.
Museveni said on Sunday that the relentless offensive against ADF, including air strikes a day before, had forced ADF fighters to re-enter Uganda where they could possibly increase attacks.
(Reporting by Elias Biryabarema; Writing by George Obulutsa; Editing by Estelle Shirbon and Bill Berkrot)