Father of detained TikToker in Kasese ADF attack video speaks out

Kalenzi claimed in a TikTok video that he is a member of the rebel group that is linked to the killing of now 43 people including 37 students and six other community members in the June 16 attack.

Resto Kalenzi at Lugazi Central Police station following his arrest over a TikTok video in which he claimed he was a member of the ADF rebels that is suspected to have raided a school in Kasese District on June 16, 2023. PHOTO/ COURTESY

BUIKWE, UGANDA: Mr David Mugabi Ssendawula, the father of a 25-year-old Resto Kalenzi who was arrested on Tuesday for claiming to be a part of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebel group in a viral TikTok video has opened up for the first time and took defence of his son.

Mr Ssendawula, a resident of Namengo village, and LCII Chairperson of Bulyandete Parish in Lugazi Municipality in Buikwe District said his son, who is currently detained at Lugazi Central Police Station recorded the video out of ignorance and that he has never even travelled beyond Kampala city.

In a video which went viral on TikTok in the aftermath of the deadly terror attack at Lhubiriha SS in Mpondwe-Kasese, Kalenzi claimed to be a member of the rebel group that is linked to the killing of now 43 people including 37 students and six other community members in the June 16 attack.

Mr Ssendawula explained that his son’s video which has since gone viral on different social media platforms was recorded out of excitement and peer influence and asked the community and police to forgive him.

“He is my son and I know him. Whatever he did is unfortunate. He did it out of excitement and I want to apologise on his behalf. He’s not a member of the ADF. He has never travelled beyond Kampala and has no criminal record in the community,” Mr Ssendawula said.

He adds that sometimes he overhears his son and friends discussing politics although he (Kalenzi) is not well-informed about the country’s politics.

Residents speak out

Some of the residents who spoke on condition of anonymity told DailyExpress that the 25-year-old detainee is just a common boda-boda rider in Namengo village who is not known for any criminal record.

“I believe he was trying to attract followers on his TikTok account, without realizing that he was being reckless and the information he shared harmful and offensive,” one of the residents said.

Ms Hellen Butoto, the Ssezibwa Police Spokesperson said Tuesday that police had detained Kalenzi for questioning and would be arraigned in court to answer charges accordingly.

“The suspect has been detained at Lugazi Central Police Station as investigations are ongoing,” Ms Butoto said on Tuesday.

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