Ugandan court remands man accused of supporting rebels linked to Islamic State

KAMPALA (Reuters) – An Ugandan man charged with terrorism-related offences has been accused of supporting a rebel group allied to Islamic State (IS), including activities such as recruiting fighters for the group, according to court papers seen by Reuters.

The group, the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), began as an uprising in Uganda but has been based in Congo since the late 1990s, pledging allegiance to the Islamic State militant group in mid-2019.

It has been accused of killing hundreds of villagers in frequent raids in eastern Congo over the years.

Swalleh Abubakar, 31, extradited last month from Zambia, was charged with offences such as “terrorism financing” and “rendering support to a terrorist organisation”, in a magistrate’s court in the Ugandan capital late on Monday.

It was not immediately clear who Abubakar’s lawyers were.

He was not allowed to enter a plea, as the case can only be tried in a higher court, where he will allowed to answer to the charges. He was remanded to prison after the charges were read to him.

Prosecutors accuse Abubakar of providing material support to, and conducting recruitment for, ADF.

The charge sheet accused him of having “directly or indirectly mobilised funds and procured digital watches, power banks,” between 2018 and April 2024.

It listed Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Tanzania, Zambia and South Africa, as sites of the impugned activity.

He also “recruited and transferred recruits to Allied Democratic Forces in Eastern DRC,” it added.

In addition, he was accused of transferring to ADF the material he had procured, knowing it would be “used for purposes of, or instigation of, acts of terrorism.”

Uganda has blamed on the ADF attacks such as a triple suicide bombing that killed seven people in the capital in 2021, including the bombers.

Last June, the group’s fighters killed 37 people in an attack on a school in western Uganda near the border with the DRC.

(Reporting by Elias Biryabarema; Editing by George Obulutsa and Clarence Fernandez)

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