Uganda uncovers 'al-Qaeda prison plot'
01 October 2014, 07:59
Kampala - Uganda has intercepted communications between militants in the east African nation and al-Qaeda groups in north Africa requesting help in a planned attack on a major Kampala prison, the country's police chief has revealed.
The details of the plot were revealed a week after 10 members of Somalia's al-Qaeda-linked Shebab rebels were remanded in custody after appearing in court on terror-related charges that prompted a major security swoop in the Ugandan capital.
Speaking to reporters late Monday, police Inspector General Kale Kayihura said investigations has uncovered links between the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a Ugandan Muslim rebel movement, and the Shabaab as well as al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.
"We intercepted communication between the terrorists who were in the cells here and who were writing to al-Qaeda of the Maghreb to attack Luzira [prison] and save them. They were begging them," Kayihura told reporters, referring to the maximum security jail.
Kayihura assured Ugandans they were safe, but urged heightened vigilance.
Also read: Terror suspect arrested in Uganda
"We must not sleep and we must make it part of our regular programme to sensitise the people about the threat," he said.
Police reportedly uncovered explosives in the capital on 13 September, just hours after the US embassy in Uganda told its citizens to stay indoors because of fears of an "imminent" attack.
Uganda, a key troop contributor to the African Union force fighting in Somalia, has been targeted by Shabaab rebels in the past. During the World Cup final four years ago, Shabaab insurgents killed at least 76 people after setting off explosions that ripped through two restaurants in Kampala.