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More Arrests Possible in Uganda Bombing Probe

  • Mike Sunderland

Ugandan police inspect the destroyed Ethiopian Village restaurant in Kampala after twin bomb blasts late on 11 Jul 2010 tore through crowds of football fans, 11 Jul 2010

Ugandan police inspect the destroyed Ethiopian Village restaurant in Kampala after twin bomb blasts late on 11 Jul 2010 tore through crowds of football fans, 11 Jul 2010

Ugandan police say they are still investigating the July 11 twin bombings that killed 76 people in the capital Kampala, and haven't ruled out making further arrests. Officials say 32 people have already been charged in connection with the attacks, for which the Somali insurgent group al-Shabab claimed responsibility.

Ugandan State Attorney Joan Kagezi said the arrested suspects include Somali, Kenyan and Ugandan nationals. Police say four of those charged have confessed to their participation in the attacks.

A hearing has been set for early September, Kagezi said, but no trial date has been announced.

Al-Shabab, the militant group that controls much of central and southern Somalia, says the bombs were Uganda's punishment for sending troops to the country as part of the African Union peacekeeping contingent aiding the weak transitional government.

The arrests come during a period of intense fighting in the Somali capital Mogadishu, as insurgent groups seemingly keep their promise to step up attacks during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Reports say at least nine people have died and dozens more have been injured from heavy shelling during fighting between pro-government forces and insurgents this week.

The AU contingent, known as AMISOM, has faced renewed allegations of indiscriminately shelling populated parts of Mogadishu, killing and injuring civilians. AMISOM says insurgents deliberately launch attacks from busy parts of town.

A woman, crying in the aftermath of an attack in Mogadishu, says her entire family died during a shelling. It's not clear whether insurgents or pro-government troops were responsible.

The coordinated Kampala bombings, al-Shabab's first attacks outside Somalia, launched the al-Qaida linked group as a terrorist organization on the international stage.

AMISOM has vowed to extend its area of control in Mogadishu, which currently extends to a small triangle of the city, over the coming months. Reports say troops have been taking up new positions, which could have led to increased fighting.

African Union leaders have agreed to send 2,000 extra troops to join the AMISOM forces in Mogadishu. The new soldiers will bring the peacekeeping contingent up to its original planned deployment of around 8,000.

Al-Shabab has vowed to strike more targets in Uganda, and Burundi, which has also sent troops to Mogadishu, in retaliation for their continued presence in the Somali capital.


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