Uganda and Burundi have condemned
threats made by Somalia's Islamist Al Shabaab insurgents to strike Kampala and
Bujumbura. The threats come in response to a firefight Thursday between
peacekeepers and insurgents in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, killing at least
The violence broke out after Islamists fired on Somali president’s plane
as he headed to Kampala for an African Union summit on refugees and internally
Uganda’s president Yoweri Museveni has warned the
Islamist rebels that they will pay a heavy price if they carry out their
attacks, and Burundi authorities say they take the threats seriously.
Major Bahoku Barigye, the
spokesperson for the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia, said the
two countries do not take the threat from Al Shabaab lightly.
But, he said, “the threats on Burundi and
Uganda and the threats of terrorism elsewhere in the world have existed for
some time,” and that there was nothing new in what the Somali insurgents are
Major Barigye added that
Uganda’s defense and security institutions have a job to do and hoped they will
do it adequately to protect lives and property: “We know [an attack] can be
executed as you do not need many people to carry out a terrorist act,” he said.
He expressed confidence that
the governments of Uganda and Burundi will take precautionary measures to
prevent whatever the Islamic insurgents are planning.
He says it’s too soon to say
definitively who was behind the casualties: “The allegations that AMISON
shelled and killed innocent civilians are not independently verified.” He added
that AMISON was not in Somalia to shell or kill anyone.
“Even the population knows
it,” said Major Barigye. “We do not shoot at people; it is the insurgents who
want to use such incidents as propaganda, which is the only way they can
He said it was not clear
whether Al Shabaab has the capacity to carry out attacks outside Somalia but
added that “it takes [just] one person to carry out a terrorist act. Based on
what I see in this country, they [insurgents] are just using human beings who
do not understand what’s going on in the world.”
He said “as my commander–in-chief
[Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni] has said, ‘we will deal with that situation
when it arises.’ Measures will be taken against anyone who puts the lives of
people in Uganda at risk.”
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