Two explosions hit Uganda’s capital Kampala on Tuesday, killing at least three people and injuring more than 30 others, in what police authorities have termed as an attack on the city; this becomes the latest in a string of blasts targeting the country.
Police authorities say that the recent explosions occurred in the central business district of Kampala near the Central Police Station and the entrance to Parliament. Three attackers on motorbikes are said to have blown themselves up near parliament and the city’s police headquarters.
“What we can say (is) this was an attack but who is responsible is a matter that is under investigation,” Uganda’s Assistant Inspector General of police Edward Ochom said.
Health ministry spokesman Ainebyoona Emmanuel said on Twitter that Kampala’s Mulago Hospital was treating 24 people, four in critical condition.
The explosion near the police station shattered windows while the one that occurred near the entrance to parliament saw cars parked nearby burst into flames.
The twin attacks follow two blasts last month, a bus explosion near Kampala that wounded numerous people, and a bombing at a roadside eatery in the capital that killed one woman. Police officials said last month that both attacks were allegedly connected to the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), an armed group based in the DR Congo, which the United States has linked to the Islamic State group.
Officials have also blamed the Tuesday attacks on the ADF, and added that the number of dead is likely to rise. Kyle Spencer, the executive director of Uganda’s Internet Exchange Point, said the explosions have sparked panic among citizens.
“The road to parliament is closed off, there are people just crying, everyone else is just trying to get away from these areas,” he said.
He added: “Everybody is evacuating office buildings and the buildings are locking up and not letting anybody inside.”
The country’s Parliament cancelled its Tuesday session following the Tuesday attacks, asking members to avoid the area “as security forces are working hard to restore order”. The premises were put under tight security, with heavily armed soldiers securing the area; the US embassy in Kampala also warned its citizens to keep away from the area.
Ugandan police last month arrested a number of ADF operatives and warned that extremists were believed to be plotting a new attack on “major installations”.
The ADF, historically a Ugandan rebel group, has been accused of killing thousands of civilians in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. In March, the United States officially linked the ADF to Islamic State.