Two foreign tourists and their Ugandan guide were killed when assailants attacked their vehicle near a national park in southwestern Uganda, a wildlife official and the police said Tuesday.
Bashir Hangi, spokesman for the Uganda Wildlife Authority, said the attackers set on fire the vehicle in which the group was traveling just outside Queen Elizabeth National Park. The security agencies are working “to establish who could have carried out this heinous act,” he told the AP.
Fred Enanga, a police spokesman, said in a statement that extremist rebels usually based in eastern Congo had carried out the “cowardly terrorist attack,” adding that the security forces “responded immediately upon receiving the information and are aggressively pursuing the suspected ADF rebels.”
The ADF, or Allied Democratic Forces, is a shadowy rebel group that originated in Uganda but whose fighters now operate in a lawless part of eastern Congo. The group has established ties with the Islamic State group.
Queen Elizabeth National Park, located in a remote area near the Congo border, is one of the country’s most popular conservation areas.
Such an attack is rare in this East African country. It comes at a time when Ugandan troops are hunting down the ADF deep inside Congo. The ADF occasionally carries out cross-border attacks. In one such attack in June, the group was accused of massacring at least 41 people, most of them students, in a raid on a remote Ugandan community near the border.
The ADF has long opposed the rule of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, a U.S. security ally who has held power in the East African country since 1986.
The group was established in the early 1990s by Ugandan Muslims who said they had been sidelined by Museveni’s policies. At the time, the rebels staged deadly attacks in Ugandan villages and the capital, including a 1998 attack in which 80 students were massacred in a border town.