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ADF leader Jamil Mukulu ‘arrested’

Police says Jamil Mukulu leader of ADF is under arrest

Hunted for years both locally and internationally, Jamil Mukulu, leader of Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), has been arrested in Tanzania. Deputy police spokesperson Polly Namaye confirmed the development yesterday, adding that Uganda and Tanzania are working on the rebel leader’s extradition.

“We received information that he was arrested in Tanzania and we are now working... to prepare his extradition to Uganda,” she said by telephone yesterday.

Namaye said Mukulu has been on Interpol’s wanted list for a long time. He is accused of murder, terrorism and treason, among other crimes. But Asan Kasingye, the director of Interpol in Uganda, told The Observer that they were still verifying whether it is indeed Mukulu who had been arrested.

“At the moment, treat any reports [about the arrest of Mukulu] as rumours but in a few days we shall be able to confirm and inform the press,” he said.

ADF announced its existence in Uganda in 1996 with an attack on Mpondwe town at the border with DR Congo. The attack was repulsed after several days of fighting but ADF remained active in the Rwenzori sub-region for many years thereafter.

The guerrilla outfit was eventually weakened but it remains a security threat, recruiting youths in different parts of Uganda and masterminding sporadic attacks inside Uganda and Congo. Over the years, some of their fighters have been captured or killed while others have surrendered and obtained amnesty. But Mukulu, the founder, remained elusive.

EVADING CAPTURE

Mukulu has been on the run from Ugandan authorities and Interpol for almost 20 years.  In 2013, a leaked video footage featuring the rank and file of the ADF in training provided a rare glimpse into the behaviour of Mukulu, and the strength of his rebel outfit.

In the video, the rebels vowed to attack an enemy force and mocked President Museveni’s government. The ADF presence in the DRC has been a constant cause of friction between the two governments, with UPDF maintaining a high level of combat readiness along Uganda’s western border. According to local security sources, Mukulu holds more than 10 passports and goes by numerous aliases to evade arrest.

Namaye said Mukulu is wanted for ADF’s role in the June 1998 Kichwamba Technical Institute massacre in which about 80 students were burned to death in their dormitories. ADF is also blamed for a spate of bomb attacks in the city in the late 1990s that killed scores.

On April 17, Jinja Grade One Magistrate Isaac Kintu Imoran issued a warrant of arrest for Mukulu and Australia-based cardiologist, Dr Aggrey Kiyingi. The two and other accomplices currently on remand in Luzira prison are accused of killing Muslim clerics in central and eastern Uganda. They are scheduled to reappear in court on May 7.

KYEGEGWA ATTACK

Of late, ADF has been suspected of being behind attacks on villages in Kyegegwa district. Nathan Anyijukire 36, a resident of Magoma village, told police at Kyegegwa that he was abducted at 1am on April 9 by seven men dressed in army uniform. Anyijukire told journalists at the Kyegegwa police station this week that the men suspected to be ADF rebels asked him to direct them to the residence of one Rukweza.

“They also wanted to know if the UPDF detach was still in this parish,” he said.

He further said that after moving with the men for about 5km and directing them on the route to neighbouring Kyenjojo district, they left him alone. Scared, area residents have called on security operatives not to ignore Anyijukire’s information.

“We were attacked by rebels in 2004, 2006, 2009, 2011 and last year in June…we also have to know that in July 2014, over 60 people were killed in separate attacks in Kasese and Bundibugyo,” said Fred Adyeri, a resident.

But the Kyegegwa Resident District Commissioner, Mary Baguma Nyakwera, said the area is safe and secure.

“There is peace as far as security is concerned here. We warn people against circulating false information about rebels. Giving false information is a crime, we shall arrest the suspects,” she said.

The director of police operations, Andrew Felix Kaweesi, also dismissed reports of rebel attacks in the district on Wednesday, April 22.

“We want to inform the public that Kyegegwa is safe according to reports we got from our intelligence, RDC, village chairman and residents,” he said.

“The allegations are false and aimed at scaring residents into sleeping early so that criminals can steal their properties such as cows and goats,” Kaweesi added.
“Don’t panic or leave your homes but be more vigilant because the criminals might use it as an advantage to confuse you and to steal your property,” he said.

zurah@observer.ug

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