News / Africa

Somali Militants Claim Uganda Bomb Attacks

Al-Qaida's affiliate in Somalia, al-Shabab, has taken responsibility for two separate bombings late Sunday in the Ugandan capital, Kampala.  The death toll has risen to more than 70 and dozens more remain seriously wounded.

Speaking to reporters from the Somali capital, Mogadishu, al-Shabab's spokesman Ali Mohamud Rage, also known as Ali Dheere, said the twin blasts were in retaliation for Uganda's failure to withdraw its troops from Somalia.

Ugandan soldiers make up more than half the 6,100-member African Union peacekeeping force in the Horn of African country.  The force, which is mandated to protect the U.N.-backed Transitional Federal Government from insurgent attacks, has been fighting near daily battles with al-Shabab in Mogadishu since the first Ugandan contingent arrived in 2007.

Ali Dheere says Uganda and the other African country contributing troops to the peacekeeping mission, Burundi, ignored previous warnings to leave Somalia.  He says Sunday's attacks were carried out to prove that al-Shabab will target civilians in Kampala and Bujumbura, if the peacekeepers are not withdrawn immediately.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni condemned the attacks and vowed to hunt down the perpetrators.  The country is also expected to provide the bulk of the reinforcement troops that have been pledged by East Africa's regional bloc known as IGAD to bring the peacekeeping force to its full strength of 8,000.  Ugandan officials say the troops will stay in Somalia as long as they are needed to stabilize the country.

At least 74 people are believed to have been killed in the bombings that targeted fans watching the World Cup final.  The first blast tore through an Ethiopian restaurant in southern Kampala.  The second blast took place about 50 minutes later at the Kyadondo Rugby Club, which was showing the World Cup match on a giant TV screen.

The Ugandan government is said to be investigating reports that two suicide bombers may have been involved in carrying out the attacks.

Most of the casualties were Ugandans.  But one American aid worker was killed and six Methodist missionaries from the U.S. state of Pennsylvania were wounded.  

Last week, al-Shabab's top leader, Ahmed Ali Godane, accused African Union troops of continuing to indiscriminately shell neighborhoods and killing civilians in Mogadishu.  He said his group would seek revenge.   

Somalis also accuse al-Shabab fighters of using residents as human shields, launching mortars at peacekeepers from densely populated areas.   

Al-Shabab, is designated a terrorist group by the United States and other Western countries, has already carried out several suicide attacks against peacekeepers in Somalia.

Al-Shabab also killed more than 20 people in October 2008 in coordinated multiple suicide bombings in Somaliland and Puntland.  But until Sunday, the group had not been able to attack any city outside Somali territories.

Neighboring Kenya has announced it has heightened security along its border with Somalia.

Related video by Carolyn Presutti:

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Christmas Gains Popularity in Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal 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.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid