IS-allied rebel group commander charged with murder of honeymooning tourists

KAMPALA (Reuters) – A commander in an Islamic State-allied rebel group was charged on Monday with nine offences including the murder of a honeymooning tourist couple and their aide in Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth National Park, court papers showed.

Kyoto Abdul Rashid, of the militant Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), was captured earlier this month in a night-time operation by the Ugandan military in which six rebels were also killed.

Rashid “with malice aforethought caused the murder” of the couple David and Celia Barlow and their Ugandan aide Eric Ayai, according to a charge sheet seen by Reuters.

David Barlow was British while his wife was South African.

Rashid was also accused of engaging in acts of violence aimed at causing the death of the three victims “for purposes of influencing the government or intimidating the public.”

Other offences included robbery and belonging to a terrorist organisation.

He was remanded to prison and ordered to reappear in court on Nov. 27.

The ADF pledged allegiance to Islamic State in 2019.

The group began as a movement opposing the Ugandan government in the early 1990s. After being routed by the army, it fled into eastern Congo where it has since operated from.

The three victims were ambushed in the park on Oct. 17 and shot dead while their vehicle was burnt. A day after the ambush, Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack.

(Reporting by Elias Biryabarema, Editing by Bhargav Acharya and Andrew Cawthorne)