News / Africa

Ethiopians, Eritreans Face Double Suspicion in Post-Bomb Uganda

Ugandan police inspect the destroyed Ethiopian Village restaurant in Kampala after twin bomb blasts tore through crowds of football fans, killing 64 people, 11 Jul 2010
Ugandan police inspect the destroyed Ethiopian Village restaurant in Kampala after twin bomb blasts tore through crowds of football fans, killing 64 people, 11 Jul 2010

Multimedia

Audio

The bodies of seven Ethiopian and Eritrean victims of the Uganda bomb attacks have been sent home to their native countries for burial.  Members of the Ethiopian and Eritrean expatriate communities face suspicion from all sides, in a city shaken by the realization that it is the latest front in Somalia's war.

A crowd of about 100 mourners gathered at Kampala's tiny Ethiopian Orthodox church Friday to remember 32-year-old Getayewakal Tessema, the only Ethiopian killed in the Kampala terror blasts.

Eritreans in the Ugandan capital held a similar service for six members of their community who also died in the attack on an Ethiopian restaurant, where fans were watching the World Cup soccer final.

The bodies were later taken to Entebbe airport for shipment home.

Members of the small Eritrean and Ethiopian expatriate communities expressed thanks to the Ugandan government for its help in returning the bodies and for the security provided in the hours immediately after the bombings, when anti-foreigner sentiments briefly flared in Kampala.

But the representative for Ethiopian refugees in Kampala, Aman Abile Dure, says Ugandans' normally hospitable attitude toward outsiders changed abruptly when Somali insurgents took responsibility for the bombs, and word spread that police had arrested several foreigners.  

"Sometimes when you lost something, you may suspect everything," said Aman. "Because Uganda has not been used to such a problem.  And then when someone is taking responsibility of such things they may suspect, but not all Ugandans.  Ugandans are good people for us."

Aman says the World Cup bomb attacks put Ethiopians in Uganda in an peculiar situation.  On one hand, the Ethiopian restaurant appears to have been hit because of Ethiopia's deep involvement in Somalia's war in support of the western-backed transitional government.

On the other hand, the bombings led many Ugandans to see Ethiopians and others from the Horn of Africa as the source of their troubles.

Immediately after the bombings, Ugandan opposition leader Kizza Besigye described the position of Ethiopians as "a double edge".

"I have heard many reports so far that anybody who looks like a Somali is being attacked," he said. "And unfortunately some of those people are being attacked [are] Ethiopians who are on the other [side of the] fence of the struggle."

Ethiopians and others with lighter skin and thin features, normally associated with the Horn of Africa, say they have been staying off the streets of Kampala in recent days.  Ethiopian community leader Banteyehu Haile says it is regrettable but understandable given the fear that raced through Kampala when people realized they were being targeted by Somali insurgents.

"It's very sad," he said. "Uganda is a very nice country.  People are hospitable.  We had enjoyed everything to date, but suddenly this thing happens.  So it's really very depressed.

As days go by, Ugandan tempers are clearly cooling.  Attacks against foreigners have stopped.

Ethiopian community leaders Friday reported what could be good news.  They were called to the Ugandan prime minister's office and asked to produce documents about four Ethiopians held in connection with the bombing case.  A community spokesman said the tone of the conversation indicated the four could be released within days.

You May Like

Report: $60 Billion Leaves Africa Illegally Each Year

Report by joint UN and African Union panel says African countries need to take concrete measures to stop illegal money flow from continent each year More

Video Spy Murder Probe Likely to Further Strain British-Russian Relations

Some analysts say Russian Tu-95 bombers were flying near British airspace to warn Britain about an inquest into a murdered Russian spy More

Mugabe Defends Image Amid Controversy at Close of AU Summit

He rejects concerns about how the West might perceive his leadership, saying he's focused on African development More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Spy Murder Probe Likely to Further Strain British-Russian Relationsi
X
Henry Ridgwell
January 31, 2015 10:50 PM
Relations between Russia and the West are set to become even more strained amid an inquiry in London into the murder of a former Russian spy. Lawyers at the inquiry accuse Russian President Vladimir Putin of directing a "mafia state." Meanwhile, Royal Air Force fighters intercepted Russian bombers close to British airspace this week, prompting authorities to summon Moscow’s ambassador. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Spy Murder Probe Likely to Further Strain British-Russian Relations

Relations between Russia and the West are set to become even more strained amid an inquiry in London into the murder of a former Russian spy. Lawyers at the inquiry accuse Russian President Vladimir Putin of directing a "mafia state." Meanwhile, Royal Air Force fighters intercepted Russian bombers close to British airspace this week, prompting authorities to summon Moscow’s ambassador. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Neighborhood Divided Over Conflict

People in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk districts find themselves squarely in the path of advancing Russian-backed rebels, who want to take back the territory they held at the beginning of the conflict last year. Many local residents are afraid, but others would welcome the change, even when a rebel shell lands in their neighborhood. From the Luhansk district, 15 kilometers from where the Ukrainian government marks the front line, VOA’s Al Pessin reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid