12 July 2010

Uganda: 23 Killed Watching World Cup

Photo: Wandera Ouma/Monitor
A distraught woman calls on her cellphone from the scene of one of the blasts. Ugandan police fear that Al Shabaab, an Al Qaeda-linked Somali militant group was behind the attacks.

Explosions ripped through a restaurant and a sports club in Uganda's capital, Kampala, on Sunday night, killing more than 20 people who had gathered to watch the World Cup final.

News reports quoted Kale Kayihura, inspector general of police, as saying the blasts hit the Ethiopian Village restaurant in the south of Kampala and a rugby sports club east of the city. Police said 23 people were killed and many others wounded.

"These bombs were definitely targeting World Cup crowds," the BBC quoted Kayihura as saying. "The information we have indicates the people who have attacked the Ethiopian Village were probably targeting expatriates."

Authorities said that one American had died in the bombings.

U.S. President Barack Obama called the attacks "deplorable and cowardly, " a spokesman said.

"The president is deeply saddened by the loss of life resulting from these deplorable and cowardly attacks, and sends his condolences to the people of Uganda and the loved ones of those who have been killed or injured," National Security Council spokesman Mike Hammer said in a statement. "The United States is ready to provide any assistance requested by the Ugandan government."

Al-Shabaab militants aligned with the Al Qaeda terrorist group have banned broadcasts of the World Cup in Somalia, and killed people for doing so. In the past, they have threatened to attack Kampala. Ugandan troops are among African peacekeepers deployed in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu.

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