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Security Analyst says Al-Shabab Planned Other Attacks in Africa

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, killing 64 people, 11 Jul 2010

The former coordinator of the U.N. Monitoring Group for Somalia says the al-Shabab militant group had planned attacks in other African countries, not just Uganda.

Bruno Schiemsky, now a security analyst, says, “The attack was organized by al-Shabab in Somalia out of one of their bases in Mogadishu and another base located near the Kenyan border. The al-Shabab wants to show that they can reach out across borders and hit targets when they want to.”

Somali conflict now regional

“From my perspective it has been a regional conflict for a long time, not because of the involvement and actions of neighboring countries, but also because of the presence of foreign fighters in Somalia, who provide support to the al-Shabab,” he says.

Schiemsky foresees closer cooperation among African countries on security.

“First of all, I think they will tighten their security. They will reinforce their intelligence capacities to gather better information. I only hope that the different security agencies will not consider the Somali communities living in their respective countries as the enemy,” he says.

Xenophobia and more

“Xenophobia and considering every Somali as a foreign fighter, which is absolutely not the case. I think that most of the Somalis living in neighboring countries are very peaceful people and only want not to be involved in the conflict,” he says.

“On the other hand,” Schiemsky adds, ”the challenge will be to identify those extremists who are hiding amongst the Somali community in neighboring countries… and to arrest them.”

More attacks?

The security consultant describes the bombings in Uganda as well-coordinated.

“According to my sources in the field, simultaneous attacks were also planned in other countries,” he says, “When the bombs exploded in Uganda, other bombs in other countries were also supposed to explode. But for unknown reasons it didn’t happen. My sources also inform me that other attacks are planned,” he says.