Is Al-Shabaab going global?

The alliance between radical Islamist militant group al-Shabab and the rebel Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), poses a major threat to the country’s security, the army has said.

Army Spokesman Lt Col Paddy Ankunda told a news conference at the army headquarters in Mbuya on Friday that the ADF threat was “real” and reports of al-Shabab fighters joining the DR Congo-based rebels makes the issue more complicated.

He said if the situation gets worse, there is a likelihood that Uganda, with the permission of DR Congo authorities, will move in to pursue the rebels.

“The ADF is real and it is linked to al-Shabab,” Ankunda said.

Explaining the dangers of this alliance, Ankunda told The Observer that “the link to Al-Shabaab could give ADF new skills and explosives might sneak into the country. They have been opening up new camps in Bundibugyo and they are training; this might cause insecurity,” he said.

Last Thursday, ADF launched fresh attacks in DR Congo, close to the town of Bundibugyo in Uganda, leading to an influx of refugees across the border.

Reports indicate that about 3,000 to 4,000 refugees have so far crossed into Uganda. Ankunda says the UPDF are screening these refugees in order to weed out possible ADF or al-Shabab fighters.

“We are sharing intelligence with DRC. We are monitoring the situation and I would like to assure Ugandans that other parts of Uganda are safe. We are working hard to ensure that occurrences that might destabilise the country are dealt with accordingly,” he said.

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