Gunmen have opened fire on a car carrying a Ugandan government minister in an attempted assassination, wounding the former army commander and killing his daughter and driver, the military and local media have said.
Four attackers on motorcycles shot at a four-wheel drive vehicle carrying Gen Katumba Wamala, the minister for works and transport, on Tuesday in the Kampala suburb of Kisaasi, the local television station NBS reported.
The president, Yoweri Museveni, condemned the attack, blaming it on criminals, terrorists and “pigs who do not value life”. In a Twitter post he said authorities already had clues in the case and that the criminals responsible would be defeated.
Images circulating on social media showed Wamala in apparent distress beside the car with his mouth open and his trousers splattered with blood.
Police investigators have searched the area, examining bullet holes in the car and casings left on the ground.
Gen Katumba Wamala once served as the head of Uganda’s police. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
The private television station NTV Uganda broadcast social media footage of Wamala speaking in hospital. Referring to his daughter, who was in the car with him, he said: “I have survived, we have lost Brenda … The bad guys have done it, but God has given me a second chance.”
Brig Gen Flavia Byekwaso, an army spokesperson, told Reuters: “There was a shooting involving him … he is hurt and he’s been taken to the hospital. His driver was killed.”
A government official said a local resident was also shot and wounded in the incident and was in hospital.
Wamala once served as the head of Uganda’s police, who have been accused of human rights abuses by campaigning groups, including arbitrary arrests and torture of opposition activists. The police deny carrying out such abuses.
There have been several unsolved assassinations and mysterious deaths of high-profile officials in the east African country in recent years that have fuelled speculation about perpetrators and their motivations.
Victims have included a lawmaker, a senior police officer, the country’s top public prosecutor and senior Muslim leaders. Nearly all were committed by gunmen on motorcycles.
The attempt on Wamala’s life took place in the same suburb in the capital where in 2017 gunmen on motorcycles sprayed bullets at a vehicle carrying a senior police officer. That police officer, Felix Kaweesa, was killed alongside his bodyguard and driver.
In 2019, the government installed a CCTV camera system on main roads in Kampala and other big towns to curb such high-profile homicides. But many Ugandans have complained that the CCTV network has not helped police solve many killings involving opposition activists and members of the public.
The former opposition MP Latif Ssebagala told reporters he hoped the incident would prompt investigators to look afresh at the unsolved killings.
“This is very unfortunate because when you see that even those who are guarded – even those who are in military attire – are not feared, can be attacked, then that will explain [how] the entire country in terms of security is lacking,” he said.
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