Four attackers on motorcycles opened fire at a vehicle carrying General Katumba Wamala, the minister of works and transport, in the Kampala suburb of Kiasasi, local news reports.

A forensic expert records bullet holes on a vehicle at the scene of an attempted assassination on Ugandan minister of works and transport General Katumba Wamala, in which he was wounded and his daughter and driver killed, an army spokeswoman and local media reports said, in the suburb of Kiasasi within Kampala, Uganda June 1, 2021.
A forensic expert records bullet holes on a vehicle at the scene of an attempted assassination on Ugandan minister of works and transport General Katumba Wamala, in which he was wounded and his daughter and driver killed, an army spokeswoman and local media reports said, in the suburb of Kiasasi within Kampala, Uganda June 1, 2021. (Reuters)

Gunmen have sprayed bullets at a car carrying a Ugandan government minister in an attempted assassination, wounding the former army commander and killing his daughter and driver, an army spokeswoman and local media reports said.

Four attackers on motorcycles opened fire at a vehicle carrying General Edward Katumba Wamala, the minister of works and transport, in the Kampala suburb of Kiasasi, local television station NBS reported on Tuesday.

Images circulating on social media showed Wamala with his mouth open, in apparent distress beside the car and his light-coloured trousers splattered with blood. 

Social media images also showed bullet holes in a car window and casings on the ground.

Wamala, who was chief of the defence forces between 2013 and 2017, came under fire while driving in Kampala, said government spokesman Chris Baryomunsi.

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Security forces and forensic experts secure the scene of an attempted assassination on Ugandan minister of works and transport General Katumba Wamala near Kampala, Uganda on June 1, 2021.
Security forces and forensic experts secure the scene of an attempted assassination on Ugandan minister of works and transport General Katumba Wamala near Kampala, Uganda on June 1, 2021. (Reuters)

Mysterious high profile deaths

"There was a shooting involving him ... he is hurt and he's been taken to the hospital, his driver was killed," Army spokeswoman Brigadier Flavia Byekwaso told Reuters.

"He sustained injuries in both shoulders," Baryomunsi told NBS. Wamala's daughter, who was in the vehicle with him, was also killed, NBS reported.

Witnesses to the attack told local television stations that four masked men riding two motorbikes fired scores of bullets at Wamala's vehicle.

The unknown assailants shot at it at least seven times, according to NBS. Footage from the scene showed the minister in his bloodied clothes asking to be taken to the hospital.

There have been several unsolved assassinations and mysterious deaths of high profile officials in the east African country in recent years that have fuelled speculation about perpetrators and their motivations.

Victims have involved a lawmaker, a senior police officer, the country's top public prosector, senior muslim leaders and others. Nearly all were committed by gunmen on motorcycles.

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The wife of Uganda's transport minister General Katumba Wamala (C) arrives at the crime scene where the minister was shot in his car in Kampala, Uganda, on June 1, 2021.
The wife of Uganda's transport minister General Katumba Wamala (C) arrives at the crime scene where the minister was shot in his car in Kampala, Uganda, on June 1, 2021. (AFP)

Repeated history

Ugandans reacted with shock to the apparent assassination attempt that will raise fears of insecurity in this East African country that has seen similar attacks in recent years.

The attempt on Wamala took place in the same surbub in the capital where in 2017 gunmen on motorcycles sprayed bullets at a vehicle carrying a senior police officer. 

That police officer, Felix Kaweesa, was killed alongside his bodyguard and driver. 

In June 2018 Ibrahim Abiriga, a leading politician from the ruling National Resistance Movement party, led by President Yoweri Museveni, was gunned down alongside his bodyguard in similar circumstances.

In March 2015, Joan Kagezi, a prosecutor in charge of investigating a militant attack in Kampala in 2010, was shot dead by men on motorbikes as she returned home.

No one has been convicted of any of those killings.

Wamala hails from the Baganda, the country's largest ethnic group. 

Shortly before the attack, Wamala told his followers on Twitter: "I wish you a month of Happiness, Success, Peace, Prosperity, Good Health, and Wealth."

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Source: TRTWorld and agencies