19 July 2010

Uganda: 20 Somalis Held Over Bomb Blasts

Kampala — AT LEAST 20 Somalis have been arrested in connection with the twin bombings in Kampala that left 76 dead and over 50 injured. Security sources yesterday said the Somalis were rounded up by a joint security team across the country.

The team comprised the Police, Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence, Joint Anti-terrorism squad, the Rapid Response Unit, ISO, ESO and Interpol.

"We have them to help us with investigations," said the source.

On Sunday, Police chief Maj. Gen. Kale Kayihura said more than 20 people had been arrested in connection with the bombings. At least seven Pakistanis are also held.

Sources said in all, over 40 suspects have now been arrested. Some of the Somalis were picked up from Kisenyi, a Kampala slum, which has a big community of Somalis.

"Some few were picked up from Nakivaale refugee settlement, and others from Soroti, Arua and Busia," said the source. The Somalis are being detained in the city.

The Police, however, were tight-lipped about the arrests of the Somalis when contacted yesterday. Spokeswoman Judith Nabakooba would neither deny nor confirm the arrests.

The chairman of the Somali community, Hussein Hassan, said he had information on the matter.

"I have reports from some Somalis that their relatives are missing. I am yet to establish the exact number and where they are detained," said Hussein. He said he was due to meet the community over the matter.

Hussein revealed that a group of Somali nationals flew out on Sunday night. Immigration officials confirmed the departure, calling it normal.

The July 11 bombings at an Ethiopian restaurant in Kabalagala, a Kampala suburb, and the rugby club in Lugogo, also in Kampala, were claimed by al-Shabaab, a terrorist group based in Somalia. Two bombs exploded at Lugogo, one in Kabalagala, while the fourth did not go off at a Makindye bar, where a suicide vest was also recovered.

On Sunday, the Police released reconstructed photos of the two men believed to be the suicide bombers who carried out the attacks.

Kayihura said America's FBI and Interpol had accepted to publish the images on their websites.

"By making these photos public, someone could recognise these men."

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