Failed would-be Suicide bomber targets ‘Lion of Mogadishu’ funeral

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Uganda says it has foiled a suicide bombing in protest of the commander who led a major offensive against al-Shabab in Somalia.

Security forces said they had arrested a man in the northern city of Pader on Thursday, a day before the funeral of General Paul Lokech, nicknamed the “Lion of Mogadishu.”

“The suspect was carrying bomb-making equipment,” said Flavia Byekwaso, a Ugandan military spokeswoman who issued a statement, naming the man as Ugandan national Katumba Abdul, also known as Ben.

The seized items included homemade bombs, suicide vests, chemical ammonium sulphate, watches and cell phones used to detonate the bomb.

“Investigations so far indicate that the suspect intended to disrupt the funeral of General Paul Lokech,” Byekwaso said.

Lokech, who died of blood clots at his home on Saturday, has twice served as commander of AMISOM forces in Somalia, fighting al-Shabaab.

He led a contingent of AMISOM troops that drove al-Shabaab out of Mogadishu in 2011, earning him the nickname “The Lion of Mogadishu.”

Lokech’s death was mourned by Somali leaders and the international community, and AMISOM described him as a “hero” who will be remembered in the fight against the militants.

“We will all remember him as a man of good character, courage, manners and dignity,” AMISOM said in a statement.

Ugandan troops said in 2018 that Somali government forces opened fire on a convoy of Lokech, then commander of the Ugandan contingent in AMISOM, in Mogadishu, although no casualties were reported.

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