An attack on a state funeral for Major General Paul Lokech, a top police and army commander who led a major African Union offensive against Al-Shabaab militants in Somalia, was foiled on Friday, a Ugandan army spokeswoman said on Friday.
Known as the “Lion of Mogadishu,” Lokech commanded the Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) contingent in Somalia several times between 2011 and 2018.
Authorities announced Thursday they had arrested a man in the northern town of Pader a day before Major Lokech’s funeral.
Items, which included a homemade bomb, suicide vests, detonators, ammonium sulphate, switches and mobile phones used to detonate the device, were allegedly seized from the suspect.
“The suspect was found with an assortment of bomb-making materials,” army spokeswoman Brigadier Flavia Byekwaso said in a statement, identifying him as Ugandan national Katumba Abdul, also known as Ben.
“Investigations so far indicate that the suspect had intentions of disrupting the funeral proceedings of the late Maj Gen Paul Lokech.”
Lokech, who died at home on Saturday of a blood clot complication that emanated from an ankle injury he suffered in July, was appointed Deputy Inspector General of Police by President Yoweri Museveni on December 16, 2020. He was serving in the role at the time of his death.
Speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulanyah in his tribute to Maj Gen Lokech, said: “He was a leader willing to put his soul into any job to get it ‘Done’. He was dependable, committed and brought valour, patriotism and poise to all his tasks. He always stepped in the gap; rising against formidable challenges. Such a huge loss to the nation. May his soul rest in peace.”
Lokech was buried on Friday at Baibir village, Ludele parish, Pader Town Council, in Pader district.
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