12 July 2010

Uganda: Explosions in Kampala Bars Kill Dozens

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.

At least 64 people were killed and 65 wounded when bombs went off in a bar and a restaurant in Kampala, the Ugandan capital, Sunday evening as people gathered to watch the World Cup final.

The bombs went off in two of the busiest parts of the city, says correspondent Patricia Okoed Bukumuneh.

One exploded in an Ethiopian restaurant in Kabalagala, a southern suburb popular with expats, she said. The other exploded in a bar in the centre of town which had been designated as a world cup zone, and where screens had been set up for people to watch the game.

"Security is on high alert, and patrols are being done everywhere," she said. "Throughout the night police sirens and ambulances could be heard carrying victims."

One US national was among those killed.

Security officials suspect the bombs were planted earlier in the day and set off as crowds gathered for the game. They have been calling the explosions terrorist attacks.

"Obviously this is terrorism. That one is clear," said Kale Kayihura, Inspector General of Ugandan police. "

He made reference to Al Shabab, the militia in Somalia, which last week warned it would carry out attacks in Uganda and Burundi for deploying African Union peacekeepers to Somalia.

But, he added, "at this stage we can't rule out anything."

Other suspects are LRA rebels and another rebel group that has launched attacked in parts of western Uganda.

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