By Kampala Post Team
On July 7, 2019, a joint security team comprised of Internal Security Organization (ISO) and the Special Forces Command (SFC) in a highly clandestine security operation intercepted and arrested a Lebanese national at Entebbe International Airport.
A few days later on July 10, the Lebanese consulate in Uganda in a diplomatic note to the Ugandan foreign affairs ministry protested the arrest of their national who they claimed was being held incommunicado and had been denied legal representation. They claimed that the arrest of Lebanese nationals who are doing business in Uganda will discourage other potential investors from investing in the country.
Details about the operation and cause of arrest were scanty at the time, but this website has now obtained a shocking intelligence report that reveals for the first time how the security services might have nipped in the bud a terrorist plot in the country of international proportions.
The Lebanese national who is now the subject of an international intelligence inquiry has since been identified as Hussein Mahmood Yassine, a suspected undercover Hezbollah agent who has lived and worked in Uganda since 2010. He was arrested while about to board a flight to Lebanon via Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He had just arrived back at Entebbe airport from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, a few hours earlier.
Hezbollah, a Shia Islamist political party and militant group based in Lebanon, is an internationally acclaimed terrorist organization that has for decades launched terrorist attacks against the State of Israel and other targets in the Middle East.
The shocking revelations follow intense interrogations by the Ugandan joint security team in consultation and cooperation with Israel’s external intelligence agency MOSSAD.
Because of the close political and intelligence relations between Uganda and Israel, MOSSAD was able to alert Ugandan security about the activities of Hussein Yassine. The subject was tracked and followed for months by the joint security team until July 7 when he was arrested on his return from Tanzania.
According to the intelligence source who talked to this website in confidence due to the sensitivity of the operation, Yassine was recruited into the foreign liaison unit of Hezbollah by a senior Hezbollah official called Ali Wahib Hussein, also sometimes known as Abu Jihad.
Hezbollah instructed Yassine to among others, identify U.S and Israel targets in Uganda and the region, recruit Lebanese living in Uganda for Hezbollah operations (particularly Lebanese who travelled to Europe and the U.S frequently) and also recruit some Ugandan Muslims who traveled to Saudi Arabia for Hajj and other religious purposes to act as Hezbollah intelligence assets.
The intelligence source further revealed that the suspected terrorist agent Yassine had already identified at least 100 Lebanese living in Uganda for possible recruitment by Hezbollah. Some of these Lebanese work with telecommunications provider Africell.
According to the source, the U.S and Israel governments who have since been notified by their Ugandan counterparts about the details of the plot have demanded the immediate prosecution of the Lebanese national, but it remains to be seen what the Ugandan authorities will decide to do with the suspected terrorist agent in its custody.
Uganda and the region are no stranger to terrorist attacks. In July 2010, Al-Shabaab terrorists attacked soccer revelers in Kampala watching the World Cup final that was held in South Africa, killing dozens and leaving scores injured.
More recently, Kenya has been at the receiving end of repeated Al-Shabaab strikes especially in the capital Nairobi. In January this year, over 21 people including foreigners were killed at the Dusit Hotel complex after men armed with guns and explosives burst into the facility before being neutralized by the security forces. This followed similar devastating attacks at the upscale Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi in September of 2013 and the gruesome massacre of university students in April 2015 at Garissa in North Eastern Kenya near the border with Somalia that shocked the world.
Both Uganda and Kenya maintain troops in Somalia serving under AMISOM to provide support to the frail Somali national government that for years has struggled to establish order and a sense of security amidst an ongoing al-Shabaab insurgency.