Uganda charges ADF rebel commander with terrorism, murder

Uganda charges ADF rebel commander with terrorism, murder
Abdul Rashid Kyoto alias Njovu in Court.

Kampala, Uganda | By Michael Wandati | The Nakawa Chief Magistrate’s Court has remanded ADF rebel commander Abdul Rashid Kyoto, also known as Njovu, to Luzira Prison on charges of terrorism and murdering two British tourists and their Ugandan guide in Queen Elizabeth National Park in Kasese district.

On Monday 13, November 2023, Kyoto appeared before court in a white tunic and walking on crutches. He was arraigned before Chief Magistrate Erias Kakooza and charged with nine counts, including confessing to belonging to a terrorist organization, terrorism, murder, and aggravated robbery. These charges are all capital offenses and carry a maximum penalty of death upon conviction.

The court heard that 31-year-old Njovu is a resident of Domain camp in Mwalika in the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo and was also a former resident of Suni village in Lyama sub-county, Budaka District.

Further details presented in court revealed that on October 17th, 2023, at Nyamunuka along Katunguru-Katwe Kabatoro Road in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Kyoto unlawfully caused the death of Barlow David James and Geyer Emmarentia Cecilia, a newlywed couple from the United Kingdom who had come to Uganda for their honeymoon.

The prosecution also asserted that Kyoto murdered their Ugandan tour guide, Eric Alyai, and proceeded to burn two motor vehicles, including a cargo truck with registration number UBM 624L and a tourist vehicle with registration number UBF 303C.

ADF rebels kill 2 tourists, Ugandan guide in Queen Elizabeth National Park
The burnt tourist Land Cruiser vehicle by suspected ADF rebels.

Njovu is further accused of robbing the deceased of their passports, including those from the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, a South African Passport, a British Airways American Express Card, an unspecified amount of money, a credit card from Barclays Premier Banking Visa Card, Driving licenses, national IDs, and employment cards.

Read Also: How Ugandan army tracked, killed 11 ADF rebels who murdered tourists

The prosecution contends that Kyoto successfully executed the robbery using a deadly weapon, and a gun, and caused serious damage to property indiscriminately and without regard to others. Njovu faces an additional charge of professing to be the commander in a terrorist organization ADF between 2018 and November 1st, 2023, in various parts of the country such as Kampala, Kasese, and within the DRC.

The prosecution, represented by Chief State Attorney Lillian Omara Alum and Assistant DPP Thomas Jatiko, stated that inquiries into the matter are still ongoing. Kyoto has been remanded until November 17th, 2023, after the court informed him that he cannot plead to capital offenses of murder, terrorism, and robbery, as these are tried by the High Court.

Trouble for Njovu began on November 6th, 2023, when he was captured during an operation by the Uganda Peoples Defense Forces marine forces on Lake Edward at Katwe-Kabatoro Island, along with two other ADF suspects who were killed.

How Ugandan army tracked, killed 11 ADF rebels who murdered tourists
ADF rebel commander Rashid Abdul Kyoto alias Njovu was arrested in an operation by the UPDF Marine Forces on Lake Edward. Two of his associates were shot dead and others managed to escape in a boat with their weapons.

He was then detained by the military and produced in court on Monday 13, November 2023 to face justice. Njovu was remanded to prison and ordered to reappear in court on Nov. 27.

The ADF pledged allegiance to Islamic State in 2019.

The group began as a movement opposing the Ugandan government in the early 1990s. After being routed by the army, it fled into eastern Congo where it has since operated from.