President Museveni has blamed former Sudanese Speaker and Islamic leader, Hassan al-Turabi for mobilising young Ugandan fighters to join the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), an Islamic fundamentalist group accused of detonating bombs in the central region.
Museveni today revealed that Ubaida Bin Bukenya, an ADF militant suspected of being involved in the foiled assassination attempt against Works Minister Gen Katumba Wamala received training from Sudan under Turabi.
“One of the boys we are hunting in the case of Katumba is known as Ubaida Bin Bukenya. Incredible. Imagine Bukenya of the Engabi clan has now become an Arab,” said Museveni in a televised speech this Thursday night.
“He (Bukenya) was alleged to have been involved in the attack on Katumba. He was in the confusing centre of Turabi. It destroyed a country called Sudan,” said Museveni.
“Sudan was destroyed by Turabi. There is now North and South Sudan. How? By emphasising identity – ‘we are Arabs, we are muslims.’ If you are an Arab, and I am not one, what am I doing here?” wondered museveni.
“Those people who take that line are dangerous people? How can Bukenya of the Engabi clan be an Arab? The fact that I joined religion in 1947 does not make Museveni a jew or an Anglo Saxon,” he wondered.
“I can’t say I am English. We took the good message of the bible but we didn’t give away our identity to become jews or English. So how can an Engabi clan member be an Arab? This is sickness. The sheiks need to address it,” said Museveni.
Turabi, a lawyer and Islamic scholar, was the intellectual architect of the National Islamic Front (NIF), a group of Islamist politicians and intellectuals which took power through a coup in 1989.
This was a joint operation between Islamist politicians and army officers, led by Omar al-Bashir, eager to see the back of then Prime Minister Sadig al-Mahdi’s chaotic administration.
They were also wary of a peace process with the southern rebels of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), which was set to challenge the Sharia laws imposed by the government in Khartoum.
To disguise the true nature of the new regime from the anti-Islamist government in Cairo, Turabi, who died in 2016, famously told Bashir to “go to the palace as president” while sending him “to prison as an inmate”.
The plan worked: Egypt welcomed the military intervention and Turabi was soon released to take up an influential, but slightly removed role as the regime’s ideologue-in-chief, operating mainly from his house in Khartoum.
In Sudan, Turabi is particularly remembered for the pivotal role he played in the Islamisation of Sudan’s laws, a process which formally began in 1983 while he served as Attorney General to then President Gaafar Nimieri.
The attempt to impose Sharia nationwide, including in the mainly Christian south, was a major driver of the war with the SPLA that lasted until 2005 when Sudan broke into two.
Internationally, Turabi is best known for his attempt to turn Sudan into a centre of Islamic learning and leadership through the formation of the Popular Arab and Islamic Congress (PAIC), which invited notable figures from international Muslim and Islamist movements to Sudan, including Osama bin Laden, Yassir Arafat and Rached Ghannouchi.
In its early stages, ADF reportedly received support from external figures such as the former DRC president (then Zaire) Mobutu Sese Seko and Sudan’s leading Islamist, Hassan al-Turabi
Terrorism in uganda
Museveni said it was such Islamic fundamentalism that destroyed Sudan and also cultivated ground for terrorism in Uganda.
He said between 1997-2001, ADF tried urban bombing which was defeated.
“They (ADF) planted 30 bombs and killed 147 people,” said Museveni.
The President said ADF could have attacked Komamboga in Kampala last weekend to target people eating pork.
“I think one of the reasons was they were eating pork. They (terrorists) came and bought soda. They must have violated haram because they were smelling it. They planted the bomb and went,” said Museveni.
‘Once I told Bashir that as a munyankole, my list of haram is much longer. I don’t eat fish, chicken, pigs, goats etc. However whenever our Baganda neighbours would visit us, we would give them chicken we were rearing to eat insects around the kraal. You do different things but respect one another. You corroborate where your interests coincide,” said the president.
“Let people eat pork. Do not bring the nonsense of others here. This is our land, we will protect it from all harmful nonsense.”
Museveni said ADF made the mistake of attacking Gen Katumba.
“With partially implemented technologies, 36 suspects were arrested. He identified the killed ADF militants as Hamid Nsubuga, Hussein Lubwama, Juma Saidi, Mustafa Kawawa, Juma Sserwada and Isaac Matovu who died after a bomb he was carrying exploded on a swift Safaris bus earlier this week.
Musevei said in 2012, ADF started killing sheikhs who didn’t agree with their “confused ideology.” 8 muslim clerics died.
The President also accused the ADF for assassinating AIGP Andrew Felix Kaweesi, Maj Mohamed Kiggundu and prosecutor Joan Kagezi.