Ugandan minister wounded, daughter killed in assassination bid

Wednesday 09th June 2021 06:40 EDT

Kampala: Gunmen have shot Katumba Wamala, Uganda’s minister of works and transport, in what police described as a “targeted drive-by shooting” which left the former top general’s daughter and driver dead. Four attackers riding on two motorcycles with concealed number plates followed Wamala from his home in the capital, Kampala, for 4km before they sprayed his vehicle with bullets last week, a police statement said.

“A joint security task team is actively investigating a targeted drive-by shooting,” Paul Lokech, deputy inspector general of police, said in the statement. “This is the first major shooting since 2019 and we strongly believe it was a targeted and not random incident.” The style of the attack echoed that of several others over the years in which many high-profile Ugandans have been killed, with the perpetrators never brought to justice.

The general’s daughter, Brenda Nantogo, and driver Haruna Kayondo were killed in the attack, while another bodyguard survived. Wamala, who once served as army chief, was wounded in an arm. “The exact motivation towards the targeted shooting is not yet established. We consider such attacks as a form of organised crime, with a potential of extremism, aimed at undermining the prevailing stability,” Lokech said.

In a video addressed to his children, Wamala spoke out about the attempt on his life. “I’ve survived. We have lost Brenda. That’s God’s plan. I love you guys. Please pray for mummy. Mummy’s in a terrible, terrible state, please pray for her,” he said, his voice shaking with emotion.

In a statement, Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni slammed the attackers as “pigs who do not value life”. “I talked to Gen. Katumba twice on the phone. He is being well-managed,” he said, adding: “We already have clues to those killers.” Museveni said one of the bodyguards fired a warning shot which saved the general’s life, adding they should have “shot to kill”.

“We could be having a dead terrorist instead of scaring away the terrorists.” The shooting was the latest in a series of attempted killings of high-profile targets by motorcycle-riding assassins in Uganda’s capital.

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