By Maria Nakitende
The Uganda Police Force has launched a manhunt for 16 individuals who vanished from their homes in Konge, Lukuli parish, Makindye division, with the suspicion that they have joined the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF).
The police task teams in Kampala Metropolitan are currently tracking down the missing persons, who reportedly left behind their businesses, including butcheries, retail shops, and commercial motorcycle (boda boda) operations.
According to Fred Enanga, the Uganda Police spokesperson, the 16 individuals disappeared from five families and are believed to have joined the ranks of the ADF, a designated terrorist group operating in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda.
Enanga has revealed that the individuals sold off their household properties before leaving and later sent a message indicating their intention to join the ADF.
“Security agencies have expressed concerns following multiple attacks in the region by the ADF, including the recent bombings in Kampala that resulted in the deaths of at least nine people,” he says.
However, the police have cautioned parents against handing over their children to criminal elements and vowed to investigate the matter thoroughly to determine those involved in recruiting Ugandans into the ADF ranks.
The search for the missing individuals is ongoing, and the police have urged the public to report any information that could help locate them.
The individuals who have gone missing have been named as Abdul Rahman, also known as Sseruwenda, who is 35 years old and accompanied by his two wives and children.
Additionally, Abdul Rashid, also known as Ssemaganda, along with his wife and children, Ashraf Lusiba with his wife and children, Ibrahim Kintu with his wife and children, and Hussein Waligo are also among those who disappeared.
According to reports, the missing individuals had sold their household belongings before abandoning their businesses.
The police spokesperson also revealed that the group had sent a message indicating their intention to join what they referred to as “the best Muslim group in the world.”
Enanga states that the police are actively pursuing not only the missing family but also any other individuals suspected of involvement in the recruitment of Ugandans into the ADF’s ranks of terror.
With deeper intelligence, the police have been monitoring various locations such as schools, homes, businesses, and places of worship, and have already disrupted the recruitment and radicalization of children in the country to a significant extent.
He further advised parents against entrusting such aggressive criminal elements with their children.
The public has been assured by the police that every effort will be made to trace the missing persons and apprehend them to identify the ADF collaborators they are dealing with.
ADF is a designated terrorist group, and in 2019, the Islamic State in Central Africa Province (ISCAP) confirmed it as an affiliate.
The rebel group operates from dense forests in neighbouring DRC and is accused of causing havoc and carrying out attacks in North Kivu and Ituri provinces of Eastern DRC.
The group is also responsible for a series of bombings in Kampala in November 2021 that killed at least nine people.
ADF Attacks On Uganda
1. November 26, 2021: ADF rebels detonated bombs in various locations in Kampala, killing at least nine people and injuring dozens of others.
2. August 22, 2021: ADF militants attacked a military base in the town of Kasese, killing three soldiers and injuring several others.
3. June 15, 2021: ADF fighters attacked a civilian convoy in the eastern part of the country, killing at least 20 people and injuring several others.
4. March 25, 2021: ADF militants attacked the town of Palia Kalungi in the Beni region, killing at least 22 people.
5. March 4, 2020: ADF rebels attacked a military base in the town of Bundibugyo, killing three soldiers and injuring several others.