New Vision (Kampala)

15 November 2011

Uganda: Terror Suspects' Trial Starts

Kampala — THE trial of 12 suspected Al-Shabaab terrorists linked to the July 11,2010 twin bomb attacks in Kampala starts today at the International War Crimes Tribunal in Kampala.

The 12 were part of the original 19 earlier charged with terrorism, and over 70 counts of murder and attempted murder.

The suspects to face the Tribunal are Hussein Hassan Agad, Idris Magondu, Issa Ahammed Luyima, Hassan Haruna Luyima, Abubakari Batematyo, Yahya Suleiman Mbuthia, Habid Suleiman Njoroge, Omar Awadh Omar, Mohammad Hamid Sulaiman, Seleman Hijar Nyamandondo, and Mohammad Ali Mohammad.

Prosecution mid-September this year dropped charges against five of the suspects before the Tribunal, a division of the Uganda High Court.

The five were Kenyan human rights activist Ali Amin Kimathi, Muhammed Adan, Khalif Abdi Muhammed, Ismail Walusimbi and Dr. Ismail Kalule.

During the September hearing of the terror suspects, State Attorney Joan Kagezi told Justice Owiny Dollo that the state had amended the indictments to exclude the five.

The bombings, Uganda's worst attack of that nature ever, left atleast 80 people dead and several others injured.

About 38 suspects were initially arrested and detained in connection with the heinous incident but most of them were released, leaving 19, most of whom had been in custody for over a year and now 12 after the release of the other five.

Profiles of some of the prominent suspects are;

Omar Awadh Omar: He is said to be one of the highest value targets captured in connection with the heinous incident.

A Kenyan national, Awadh is believed to be the second in command of the East Africa al-Qaeda terrorist cell.

According to regional security intelligence, Awadh was high in the hierarchy of the terror cell and the second to the region's al-Qaeda boss, Harun Fazul, who was killed mid this year by a combined force of Somali Transitional Government Forces (TGF) and African Union peacekeepers in Mogadishu together with several other commanders.

Police sources point at Awadh, also known as Abu Sahal, as the top logistician of the East African al-Qaeda cell and the al-Shabaab terrorists in Somalia.

Hijar Seleman Nyamadondo: He is a Tanzanian national in his early 30s and said to be a resident of Arusha, Tanzania and a director of Kamanga Rumagambo investments.

He was extradited to Uganda in February this year after a lengthy legal process. Security accuses him of transporting the three bombs from Kenya to Kampala where they were used in the attacks.

Mohammed Ali Mohammed: He is a Kenyan citizen and was arrested and extradited to Uganda mid this year. Security says he was the second in command in plotting the July 11 attack.

Issa Luyima: He is a Ugandan in his mid-30s. He was picked up from the Kenyan coastal town of Mombasa and flown to Uganda. He is a key suspect and foot soldier in al-Shabaab and fought with the militants in Somalia.

He studied at Brilliant High School and Kawempe High School in Kawempe before working in Kampala.

This high profile trial will be presided over by Justice Owinyi Dolo.

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