Towards Easter Sunday shocking news of attacks came in that clarifying that notorious terrorists belonging to Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) had set up base in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). To announce its presence, the terror group claimed the recent attack on Bovata, Beni town in North Kivu, which left eight Congolese soldiers and civilians dead.
According to sources within security agencies The ISIS attacked a town in DRC known as Beni and declared the same province a caliphate and also hoisted a flag to mark their territories. Geographically Beni town is not far away from Kasese town about 142km.
It should be noted that this is the first time ISIS has claimed responsibility for an attack in the DRC, a move that has put neighboring countries on a terror alert.
According to New Vision, Security sources confirmed with their reporter that ever since the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF)’s leader, Jamil Mukulu, was arrested in Tanzania and extradited to Uganda for trial over murder and terrorism related charges, terror activities in the areas of North Kivu had subsided.
Ugandan security authorities have said they have already embarked on investigations on possible sleeper cells that ISIS and other terror groups could have established in the region.
However, the recent ISIS activities, security sources say, point to two things: ADF could have clandestinely metamorphosed into ISIS or the terror group, whose influence has waned in Syria, could have quietly recruited a coterie of fresh people from East Africa to start new frontiers in DRC, in order to fill the gaps that the ADF’s weakening influence had left.
In response to reported ISIS attacks in the DRC, the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF), says they are alert and ready to defuse any threat by the ISIS terrorists, whether their presence in the DRC is true or simply a false propaganda alarm.
“The UPDF has over time developed capabilities to defend the people of Uganda and their property. It will always remain alert to do that. There should not be any worries. Whether true or false, the bottomline is that the UPDF resolve to protect Ugandans is total,” Brig. Richard Karemire, the UPDF spokesperson, said.
While in an Interview with a new vision reporter (David Lumu), the head of operations at the Internal Security Organization (ISO) Mr Isaac Ssawe, yesterday confirmed ISIS’s presence in the region, especially the DRC.
“Through our networks, we have established that ISIS terrorists are in the region, and they have been trying to access our country (Uganda),” Ssawe said.
ISO has also issued a terror alert and photos of suspected ISIS terrorists, who they say attempted to enter Uganda. The listed people include an Afghan national, Rashidi Abdul Tawab, and two other unidentified suspects.
“The under-listed persons are suspected to be terrorists operating in the region and could enter Uganda to carry out attacks. Anyone with information about them should report to ISO, Police or any other security agency,” the ISO alert read.
Police spokesperson Fred Enanga yesterday said Police were also on standby.