July 15, 2024

A court in Uganda has charged a man with terrorism along with other offences over the killing last month of two tourists and their guide.

Abdul Rashid Kyoto is allegedly a commander in the Islamic State-linked Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) militia.

He is accused of killing a honeymoon couple from the UK and South Africa and their Ugandan guide in an attack in a national park on 17 October.

Mr Kyoto made no comment when the charges were read out.

He will be asked to plead once the case reaches the High Court, which is where murder and terrorism trials are heard.

British citizen David Barlow, his South African wife Emmaretia Geyer and Ugandan Eric Alyai were shot dead on a visit to see gorillas and other primates at the Queen Elizabeth National Park. Their vehicle was also burnt.

The attack was blamed on the ADF, which has a presence in western Uganda, but mostly operates in the eastern part of neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo.

The two countries have intensified operations targeting the group in recent months.

Among the charges against My Kyoto approved by Uganda’s director of public prosecutions were two of terrorism, three of murder and one of belonging to a terrorist organisation.

Pictures from the magistrate’s court in eastern Uganda show him dressed in a white tunic, or kanzu, and walking with the aid of a crutch under his right arm.

He was arrested last week in an army operation on Lake Edward, on the border between Uganda and DR Congo.

“Two of his associates were shot dead and others managed to escape in a boat with their weapons,” a statement from the prosecution authority said.

The ADF has staged several attacks in Uganda in recent years.

In June, a group of ADF fighters attacked a school in western Uganda, killing nearly 40 pupils.

The ADF was created in western Uganda in the 1990s and took up arms, alleging government persecution of Muslims.

Muslims make up almost 14% of the Ugandan population, according to official figures, though the Ugandan Muslim Supreme Council estimates the figure is closer to 35%.

Some members of Uganda’s Muslim community say they face discrimination in public life, such as in education and the workplace.

After defeat by the Ugandan army in 2001, the ADF relocated to North Kivu province in DR Congo.

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