Chaos Erupts in Uganda as Suicide Bombings Rock Capital, Authorities Warn of More Attacks

Two explosions caused chaos in Uganda's capital, Kampala, early Tuesday, killing at least three civilians and three suicide bombers. The Allied Democratic Forces, an extremist group affiliated with the Islamic State (IS) group, claimed responsibility, the Associated Press reported.

Police spokesman Fred Enanga said the explosions happened within three minutes of each other. One blast was near the police station, the other near the parliamentary building.

Lawmakers were seen evacuating a building nearby and body parts were scattered in the street, according to police and witnesses.

"We give thanks to God. He has protected us," witness Jane Among said near one of the blast scenes. "We first heard a blast, and then when we stayed a little we heard another blast and saw dust all over."

At least 33 people were being treated at the city's main hospital, five of them critically injured, Enanga told reporters.

"The bomb threats are still active, especially from suicide attackers," said Enanga.

Uganda officials have been urging vigilance during a string of bomb explosions over the past few weeks.

At least 150 planned attacks have recently been defused, Enanga said, describing a "domestic terror group" eager to carry out more attacks.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Uganda, Suicide Bombing, Kampala
Security forces and forensics officers examine the scene of a blast on a street near the parliamentary building in Kampala, Uganda, on November 16, 2021. Two loud explosions rocked the Ugandan capital early Tuesday, sparking chaos and confusion as people fled what is widely believed to be coordinated attacks. Hajarah Nalwadda/AP Photo

One person was killed and at least seven others wounded in an explosion at a restaurant in a suburb of Kampala on October 23.

Another explosion two days later on a passenger bus killed only the suicide bomber, according to police.

The most recent explosion near parliament appeared to hit closer to a building housing an insurance company and the subsequent fire engulfed cars parked outside.

Police released security video footage of the precise moments the bombers detonated their devices in the streets, sending clouds of white smoke billowing in the air.

The Allied Democratic Forces, an affiliate of the Islamic State militant group in central Africa, claimed responsibility for the attack on the eatery. Enanga said Tuesday's attacks bore "the hallmarks" of the work of this group, although there was no immediate claim of responsibility.

The Allied Democratic Forces has long been opposed to the rule of longtime President Yoweri Museveni, a U.S. security ally who was the first African leader to deploy peacekeepers in Somalia to protect the federal government from the extremist group al-Shabab.

In retaliation over Uganda's deployment of troops to Somalia, the group carried out attacks in 2010 that killed at least 70 people who had assembled in public places in Kampala to watch a World Cup soccer game.

But the Allied Democratic Forces, with its local roots, has become a more pressing challenge to Museveni, 77, who has ruled Uganda for 35 years and was re-elected to a five-year term in January.

The group was established in the early 1990s by Ugandan Muslims who said they had been sidelined by Museveni's policies. At the time, the rebel group staged deadly terrorist attacks in Ugandan villages as well as in the capital, including a 1998 attack in which 80 students were massacred in a frontier town near the Congo border.

A Ugandan military assault later forced the rebels into eastern Congo, where many rebel groups are able to roam free because the central government has limited control there.

Reports of an alliance between the Allied Democratic Forces and the Islamic State group first emerged in 2019, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which tracks the online activities of extremist organizations.

Uganda, Suicide Bombing, Kampala
Security forces secure the scene of a blast on a street near the parliamentary building in Kampala, Uganda, on November 16, 2021. Two loud explosions rocked the Ugandan capital early Tuesday, sparking chaos and confusion as people fled what is widely believed to be coordinated attacks. Ronald Kabuubi/AP Photo