Home | News    Thursday 15 July 2010

Uganda’s bombings claimed by Somali militants threaten to destabilize region

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July 14, 2010 (KHARTOUM) — Al-Shabab appeared to make good on its threats to attack countries with troops protecting the transitional Somali government on Sunday, by claiming responsibility for two explosions in Uganda’s capital Kampala that killed 76 people.

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An injured man is carried in Kampala’s Mulago hospital, on July 12, 2010 after twin bomb blasts tore through crowds of football fans watching the World Cup final (AFP)

Most of the victims were Ugandan, although one American was also killed. A suicide jacket was found at another location in Kampala indicating that a third explosion may have been planned.

Four foreign suspects were arrested in connection with the find but Ugandan officials would not confirm their nationalities despite dropping hints that they are Somali citizens.

Soon after the attacks Al-Shabab, Somalia’s most dangerous Islamist militant group, claimed responsibility for the attacks, calling for Uganda and others to withdraw their African Union peacekeeping forces from Somalia.

Since it was formed in 2006, Al-Shabab, an ultra-conservative Islamic group that has been compared to the Afghani Taliban, has carried out a number of violent attacks in Somalia, including the use of suicide bombers in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu. This would be its first foreign terrorist operation.

Al-Shabab’s spokesman Sheik Ali Mohamed Rage said after the attacks: "We warned Uganda not to deploy troops to Somalia, they ignored us."

"We warned them to stop massacring our people, and they ignored that. The explosions in Kampala were only a minor message to them. ... We will target them everywhere if Uganda does not withdraw from our land."

Burundi who also has forces in Mogadishu was warned they could soon face attacks.

Preventing attacks, especially from suicide bombers, elsewhere in the region will be difficult due Africa’s porous borders, U.S. ambassador to Uganda Jerry Lanier, told Reuters on Wednesday.

Although Al-Shabab has claimed responsibility for the attack they may not have acted alone according to Uganda’s Inspector general of police, Kale Kaihura. He suspects that Ugandan Muslim radical group the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) may have carried out the attack with help from Al-Shabab.

In the past Uganda has accused the Sudanese government of backing the ADF in retaliation to Uganda’s support of the former rebels who now govern southern Sudan – the Sudan People’s Liberation Army/Movement (SPLA/M) - during the 22 year civil war between north and south Sudan that ended with a peace deal in 2005.

The scale and coordination of the attack have led to suspicions that that ADF and or Al-Shabab may have received sophisticated training from al-Qaeda.

In a background briefing on the bombings a senior White House official said that the links between Al Qaeda and Al -Shabab had ‘existed for quite some time,” and were of “strong concern” to the U.S..

“[Al-Shabab’s] agenda is very similar to al Qaeda’s agenda. It advances a distorted and perverted version of Islamic goals and agenda. It has engaged in terrorist tactics inside of Somalia extensively. It is responsible for the assassination of a number of Somali peace activists, international aid workers, numerous civil society figures, as well as journalists.”

In 2008 Al -Shabab was designated a foreign terrorist organization by the U.Ss. and earlier this year was sanctioned by the United Nations Security Council.

In an interview with the South African Broadcasting Corporation on July 14, President Obama said that the U.S. would, “redouble our efforts, working with Uganda, working with the African Union, to make sure that organizations like [Al -Shabab] are not able to kill Africans with impunity.”

The President went on to say that Al Qaeda, Al -Shabab and other terrorist groups put no value in African life seeing the continent, “as a potential place where you can carry out ideological battles that kill innocents without regard to long-term consequences for their short-term tactical gains.”

The U.S. believes there to be two subcomponents of al Qaeda that are active in the region; Al Qaeda in East Africa (AQEA), which was responsible for the attacks against U.S. Embassies in Addis Ababa and Nairobi in 1998 and Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

AQAP is believed to be the most operationally active of the al Qaeda franchises in the region, operating mainly out of Yemen but also in the Horn of Africa.

These two parts of Al Qaeda are believed to have a “fair amount of interaction”, according the U.S. with both organizations having contacts and associations Al-Shabab.

According to a U.S. official there has been, “somewhat of a blending together of these different individuals who are at the top of these organizations. And, unfortunately, I think they are bringing along with them some of the young Somalis and others who are engaged in these local conflicts but are brought into the Al Qaeda orbit.”

The U.S. has said it is prepared to step up its support for Uganda in the wake of the attacks. FBI agents were due to arrive on Wednesday and Thursday to join the three agents already assisting Uganda with the investigation.

Ugandan opposition MP Hussein Kyanjo a long critic of the deployment Ugandan troops in Somalia told the BBC that President Museveni’s government would continue its policy of intervention in Somalia in order to ensure continued military and financial support from the U.S..

Opposition within Uganda to the presence of Ugandan troops in Somalia is expected to increase following the attacks but there seems to be no change in the approach by Uganda’s military and security forces despite Al-Shabab’s statement linking the bombings to the presence of Ugandan troops in Somalia.

"The act of bombing Uganda is a confirmation of the need to take control and pacify Somalia. This is an effort that everybody in the world has to realize," Uganda’s army spokesman Felix Kulayigye told the BBC.

Uganda’s inspector general of police, Kale Kaihura, also speaking to the BBC echoed this attitude: "If you tolerate a group like al-Shabab to take over power in our neighborhood, they will start there and will want to spread. It would be worse if they were in charge of state power. That’s why Africa is united against it."

The African Union mission to Somalia, known as AMISOM, which includes 3,200 Ugandan and 2,000 Burundian troops, is seen as vital in propping up the beleaguered transitional government in Somalia and preventing more of the country being overrun by Al-Shabab.

It was recently agreed that AMISOM, would increase the number of peacekeepers in Somalia by 2,000 bringing the total to 8,100. Many of the additional troops were expected to be Ugandan. Pressure will now grow on other African nations to contribute to AMISOM ahead of the AU summit to be held in Uganda later this month.

Nigeria, Ghana, and other countries have promised but not delivered troops suggesting the mission is too dangerous. Uganda also has troops deployed in Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Central African Republic.

The ongoing insurgency in Somalia has killed 21,000 people and caused 1.5 million people to be displaced.

Al -Shabab enforces its own strict interpretation of Islam, routinely banning sport (including watching the FIFA World Cup), music and dancing.

(ST)

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  • 15 July 2010 05:47, by jur_likang_a_ likan’g

    Uganda under Kaguta Museveni is indeed a beacon of Black Africa. He does what he preaches. His moral integrity is beyond argument. From economic ass he lifted Uganda to prosperous Uganda. Political instability is now a thing of the past. He is indeed great. Somalia needs to be pacified. That can only be done by action and not words otherwise there will be no time to correct the mistake when Islamic lunatics strike anywhere anytime. That is why Ugandan troops are in Somalia and in Sudan. Africa needs to come out from their sleep if they need prosperity in the continent. We can not expect prosperity while insecurity continues in the name of Allah. Africa must stand with Ugandans in the war against terror. It is not long time ago Uganda saw Islamists butchering Southern Sudanese in that part of the continent. He offered his personal, moral, diplomatic and material support to his brothers in Southern Sudan until peace was attained in South Sudan. He knows islamic fundamentalism lies within Koran. While Ugandans tolerate freedom of worship, I believe he not accepte islamic terrorism. That I believe the civilised world will support. Uganda need support and Museveni must be supported to bring sense into these lunatics. The world mustbe a peaceful for every one regardless of race, religion, sex and creed. Whoever violets this convention should be punished.

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    • 15 July 2010 06:19, by marie

      The only way to control these islamists is to flush them out of Uganda. There are a lot of them in South Sudan, action should be taken against these maggots. They are the most stupid human beings on the planet. Flush out all Somalians and the problem would be solved; they are criminals all over the world

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      • 15 July 2010 07:30, by Wal P Muoranyar Biet

        To Marie

        Yes, I agree with you, I don’t want pirates on our Nile’s waters. An attention need to paid to their present in Southern Sudan,

        Wal Muoranyar

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      • 15 July 2010 10:19, by Biden Osire

        Please we are to really flush out all the Somalis from any African territory and let them be contained in there own country but southhern Sudan must also be carefull otherwise there is a large number of the so call Somalis in the area.

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    • 15 July 2010 14:06, by Mr Famous Big_Logic_Boy

      jur likang

      But do you know that Ugandan politics are some how deserting othe parts of the country? Look at west Nile and go deep to the eastern part and see the differences. Imagine Yei was captured in 1998 and now people are enojying electricity, but koboko a district livign in peace since 1984, can you see a single electricity pool along the roads? Mbarara is 80% far from Arau, Nebbi and all the west nile districts. My friend their is more to Uganda polticis in which we the outside world must stay away fro it. Museveni politics are good internationally for the fact he stand for his African pride, but there is more within the country. He need to embrace the whole country as one. West Nile people survive with cotton and tobbacco, on top of it the central business in K’la cheat on the local farmers. You sell your cotton in west nile 1kg for Shs 1500, but in K’la the price is Shs 10,000. How bad is this if we could all be educated to understand the economy.

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  • 15 July 2010 06:30, by Otong

    Dear Southerners,

    Government of South Sudan needs to start checking on those foreigners who are living in South Sudan without any official documents, and have no any reasons to stay in South Sudan, it is a mater of national security, and for safety of people of South Sudan GoSS should start sending them back to where they’ve come from.

    GoSS should learn from what happened in Uganda when Somali’s Islamite killed innocent citizens in Kampala.

    We have so many Somalis, Ethiopians, Eritrea’s, Kenyans, and may more African living in South Sudan without official document and no clear reason to be in South Sudan, those people can be used by the enemies of South Sudan to carry out attacks against South Sudan, also they can be espying for other countries.

    Thanks,
    Otong

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  • 15 July 2010 08:26, by Kideopo Boy

    OH My God. This is now a disaster to us Africans. Al-Shabab of Somalia made their way from Somalia to Uganda. GOSS and it Security Agents must excercise maximum efford to screen all foreigners entering South Sudan from differrent routes. Many foreigners especially Somalis are roaming in all South Sudan cities and counties in the cover of business. You can see them with mobile business like selling of watches,clothes etc. I have one question to ask everybody. How can some foreigners move with five watches for sale and he/she sleeps in an expensive Hotel of 50-100 SDG excluding food and drinks per night? Where is he/she getting this money incase on of his/her watch is not bought? Our Government is to open it eyes to this terrorist who are roaming in South Sudan looking for ways to get into other neighbouring countries or assessing ways of how to strike inside South Sudan. Our Airports are also to be maximum alert. Terrorist are already inside our cities & counties. My condolence to the families of those who lost their love ones in the cowardly attacked. May God the Almighty Father and Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ rest their souls in Eternal peace. And wish quick recovery for those in hospitals.

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  • 15 July 2010 09:29, by DASODIKO

    Those who brought bombs to Uganda, when arrived did not stay with Ugandan but with Somalians living in Uganda. My advice to all African countries is to expell all Somalian to go back to their country. Either they are able to live under dictatorship of Al- Shabab I slamist or they fight to expell them out of Somalia. The Somalians are like Indian they don’t misx with hosting community whereever they are. So I beleieve they must be send back at least to create a country, for how long they will be roaming the world as refugees and asylum seekers?

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  • 15 July 2010 09:34, by Padiet Deng Alony

    Africa Unit. Watch out Africans and protect your Continent not to be like Middle East. eye for eye, tooth for tooth. at this time those related with muslim ideology.why relating everything in name of islam. we will not allow any devil ideology to come and make this Africa like Middle East.at this time let all African send thier troops to Somalia to crash this terrorist minded al- shabat not shabab. Southern Sudan Country will too send thier troops to Somalia 2011.

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  • 15 July 2010 11:50, by Ayom

    Somali militants who proveb themselves for the world’s most deadly people, it is not a good business for you ask yourself why should you risk your life and they like of other poeple? just because of money being paid to you. How will you enjoy that wealth and you are too dead? very bad busy.

    Remember Sudaneses people have no mercy over such terror activities, should you pratices such terror activites then that will mark the end of every somali living here in Sudan.

    Ayom Ayom

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    • 16 July 2010 03:20, by madman

      You Southern Sudanese should be careful about this so called Somalis. they are another arab and will cause us another war in some years to come. We should kick them out earlier before it’s too late. Say goodbye to them please GOSS.

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