A bomb attack on a cathedral in Kampala was thwarted, according to Ugandan police, who also captured a man suspected of intending to set off an explosive in a crowded place of worship.
According to police spokesman Patrick Onyango, hundreds of worshippers were forced to leave the capital city’s Rubaga Miracle Centre Cathedral when a man tried to enter the premises with an explosive.
“We have carried out a controlled detonation of the improvised explosive device which was made of nails, a motorcycle battery, a charger and a telephone handset which was to be used in the attack,” he told reporters outside the cathedral.
He claimed that after receiving a warning about a potential attack on an institution of worship, police tracked the man and, when he was stopped and searched, found the bomb in his rucksack.
He claimed that after the suspect, 28-year-old Ibrahim Kintu, admitted that he might have had accomplices, police were looking for three other males.
No more threat was discovered despite the cathedral being roped off and bomb squad personnel and sniffer dogs being dispatched to search the vast grounds.
Robert Kayanja, its well-known preacher, told AFP that “the Lord has saved us from deaths.”
“The terrorist was a few yards to the entrance of the church, but the security put up resistance and (he) was arrested before he can enter the church and detonate the bomb,” said the high-profile evangelist who is a public ally of Uganda’s long-serving leader, Yoweri Museveni.
“Go out to the world and tell them we have just survived a bomb, but Jesus loves us!” Kayanja later told worshippers after prayer services resumed a few hours later.
According to a police brief seen by the AFP, authorities had been informed of a potential attack on populous places, including churches and retail malls.
In a brutal school attack in June, militants from the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) organisation crossed the border into the Democratic Republic of the Congo and killed 42 people, including 37 pupils.
It was the biggest attack on Uganda since twin explosions in Kampala in 2010 that left 76 people dead and were claimed by the Al-Shabaab organisation with headquarters in Somalia.