Country Report on Terrorism 2009 - Chapter 2 - Uganda

Uganda remained vulnerable to international terrorism, with members of al-Qa’ida using Uganda as a transit point. Al-Qa’ida and the Somali-based al-Shabaab posed the most significant terrorist threats to Uganda. Uganda took tangible steps to track, capture, and hold individuals with suspected links to terrorist organizations. While in transit, al-Qa’ida members were believed to have procured government documents illegally and engaged in recruitment activities. In response, the Government of Uganda increased efforts to track, capture, and hold individuals with suspected links to terrorist organizations. Uganda’s Joint Anti-Terrorism Taskforce (JATT), composed of military, police, and intelligence entities, led Uganda’s counterterrorism response.

In September, November, and December, the Ugandan government raised alert levels and increased security at government installations, popular shopping centers, hotels, and other soft targets due to threats from al-Qa’ida and al-Shabaab. Al-Shabaab identified Uganda as a potential target in retaliation for Uganda’s participation in the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia.

The Ugandan military continued to track, in coordination with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Sudan, and the Central African Republic (CAR), remnants of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). The LRA has not carried out an attack in Uganda since mid-2006, but was responsible for killing, raping, and kidnapping hundreds of persons in southern Sudan, the DRC, and CAR. During the year, 255 LRA combatants surrendered to the government and were granted amnesty under the country’s Amnesty Act of 2000.

The U.S. Antiterrorism Assistance Program (ATA) conducted an assessment of the Ugandan government’s counterterrorism capabilities in June. While the Ugandan government was a strong advocate for cross-border solutions to persistent security concerns in the Great Lakes Region, resource limitations and corruption hampered more effective counterterrorism measures. The need to amend the 2002 Anti-terrorism Act, enact comprehensive anti-money laundering legislation pending before Parliament, and improve coordination and information sharing between security services remained at year’s end.