On Friday, June 2, 2023, police rescued 32 young boys between the ages of 14 and 28 who were being recruited into terrorism by Sheikh Yunus Kamoga, the head of the Jumiat Dawa Al Salafia at Nakasero mosque.
The Police Spokesperson, SCP Fred Enanga, said that their investigations led them to the home of one Sheikh Yunus Kamoga’s in Kawempe Tula, where he had several young people unlawfully confined on the premises.
“The victims were also restricted access and contact with the outside world. Some of the parents were actually concerned and brought it to the attention of the police,” Enanga stated.
“We are also in the process of having Kamoga record an official statement with his school administrators and parents of the victims,” the police spokesperson confirmed.
The victims, all male, were being taught radical extremism in disguise of being taught Islamic sharia law, as stated by Sheikh Kamoga.
What Kamoga’s recent record reads like
In 2017, Kamoga and five others were sentenced to life imprisonment on charges of terrorism for printing fliers with names of those targeted to be killed on them and distributing them in different mosques. They were also accused of holding secret meetings in their homes where they planned the killing of Muslim leaders.
Later in 2020, the six were acquitted as the prosecution failed to present witnesses to testify against the accused. Kamoga and his co-accused were let off on a technicality.
Kamoga’s recent dealings not new
According to media reports, in 1991, Kamoga spent most of his time on a run wanted for recruiting his followers under the Jumiat Dawatil Tabligh Al Salafiya Nakasero into the defunct National Army for the Liberation of Uganda (NALU), which was operating along with the ADF in Western Uganda. In July 2000, New Vision published a story that indicated that Kamoga had returned into Uganda on rebel amnesty.
Information from court records and security sources places Kamoga as one of the big suspects in the 1998 twin bombings in Kampala that hit Slow Boat Bar on Kampala Road, killing one reveler, and Isabela Bar in Makindye, injuring others in the same period.
The assertive and vocal sheikh has also been involved in cases of radical extremist teachings, which security sources say that he uses the cover of sharia law teachings to recruit young boys into the ADF rebel forces. The security sources, who preferred anonymity, declined to reveal more information on grounds that investigations are still underway and the sensitive nature of the information could land him in trouble.
Kamoga in the media: What a coincidence of events!
Sheikh Yunus Kamoga is currently visiting media houses after NTV ran a story about his suspicious confinement of young boys in his home. He has made appearances on a number of radio stations, seeking sympathy while alleging that security agencies are persecuting him.
Kamoga is quoted saying, “I have been rehabilitating bad-mannered youths at Tula Rehabilitation Centre for the last 20 years, to be specific, and I have been rehabilitating criminals for the last 40 years,” Sheikh Kamoga told journalists.
Unanswered Questions about Kamoga’s Rehabilitation Centre
What a generous, empathetic person, and what a coincidence that the sheikh does this charity work without any formal registration of the rehabilitation centre, according to the Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB).
The other question is: where do the rehabilitated young boys go? One of Kamoga’s neighbours revealed that they don’t know where he picks the young boys, and after periods of closed stay at his home, they don’t know where they depart to.
The government of Uganda has many rehabilitation centres for criminals and remand homes for those below the age of 18, and if Kamoga wants to help rehabilitate bad mannered youths, he should do it within the precinct of the law.
Sheikh Yunus Kamoga’s counterpart, Sheikh Ismail Kalule, was also picked by CMI after his pharmacy in Kampala was searched and they found what they suspected to be bomb-making materials. He was later taken to his home in Najjera and searched in his presence.
On June 7 2023, Bobi Wine posted on his Twitter account defending the suspicious trainings carried out by Kamoga, an act that exposes poor judgment about security issues and puts him in the position of a radical regime fighter without considering the lives of people being lost in rebel activities.
Over 75 people have been killed by terrorists in Uganda in recent years; supporting terrorism suspects or terrorist recruiters should be strongly condemned by all Ugandans.