July 2010 Kampala attacks
|July 2010 Kampala attacks|
Map of the two attack locations
|Date||11 July 2010
10:25 pm – 11:15 pm, approximately (UTC+3)
|Target||Crowds watching broadcasts of the FIFA World Cup Final|
|Allied Democratic Forces, Lord's Resistance Army|
The July 2010 Kampala attacks were suicide bombings carried out against crowds watching a screening of 2010 FIFA World Cup Final match during the World Cup at two locations in Kampala, Uganda, on 11 July, 2010. The attacks left 74 dead and 70 injured. Al-Shabaab, a Sunni Islamist Somali militia believed to have ties to Al-Qaeda, has claimed responsibility for the attacks as retaliation for Ugandan support for AMISOM. This is al-Shabaab's first attack outside of Somalia.
In the years preceding the attack Somalia's Islamic Courts Union (ICU) became a potent force in the country. Consequently, Ethiopia invaded the country to secure its own borders despite ethnic strife in its own Ogaden region. Although Ethiopia withdrew from the country during the War in Somalia (2006–2009), African Union troops stayed in the country. After the conflict between the ICU and Ethiopia ended, Al Shabaab grew into a potent force against the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and threatened attacks against foreign and AU troops in the country. This attack was seen as revenge against the AMISOM presence in Somalia led by Ugandan forces.
Al Shabaab controls much of Somalia and its capital Mogadishu, where it has imposed its own "harsh" form of Sharia law. The group describes itself as waging jihad against "enemies of Islam" and has "declared war on the UN and on Western non-governmental organizations" that distribute food aid in Somalia. It has killed 42 relief workers in 2008 and 2009. It has been designated a terrorist organization by several Western governments and security services, and described as having "ties to Al Qaeda," which their leaders denied until early 2010. Foreign elements of Al-Shabaab are blamed for several suicide bombings. UN's 2006 report stated that among the backers are Iran, Libya, and Egypt. In 2008, the group was congratulated by American Imam Anwar al-Awlaki who has since been tied to several attacks and plots against the West by radicalized Muslims which he also condoned and justified. He thanked them for "giving us a living example of how we as Muslims should proceed to change our situation. The ballot has failed us, but the bullet has not". In conclusion, he wrote: "if my circumstances would have allowed, I would not have hesitated in joining you and being a soldier in your ranks."
The first bombing was carried out at a restaurant called the Ethiopian Village, situated in the Kabalagala neighbourhood, with many of the victims foreigners. Fifteen people died in this attack. The Kabalagala bombing occurred during the 2010 FIFA World Cup Final.
The second attack, consisting of two explosions in quick succession, occurred at 11:18 pm at Kyadondo Rugby Club in Nakawa, where state-run newspaper New Vision was hosting a screening of the match. According to eyewitnesses, there was an explosion near the 90th minute of the match, followed seconds later by a second explosion that knocked out the lights at the field. An explosion went off directly in front of a large screen that was showing the telecast from South Africa, killing 49 people. The discovery of a severed head and leg at the rugby field suggests that it was a suicide attack carried out by an individual. A third unexploded vest was later found. A Uganda Police Force officer stated the total death toll as 64. A further 71 were hospitalized, 14 of whom were treated for minor injuries and later discharged.
Most of the dead were Ugandan. Others included: an Indian, an Irishman, a Lay missionary, one Kenyan was confirmed killed in the attacks, and it was speculated another could have been killed. and a US citizen identified as an employee for the non-profit organisation Invisible Children and University of Delaware graduate, who was among some of the students he worked with. There were also at least six Eritrean and one Ethiopian deaths in the blast.
The injured also included six Methodist missionaries from a Pennsylvania church.
Ugandan police made arrests in the days following the attack. Another Ugandan was arrested in Kenya over the attacks. Twenty people were arrested, including several Pakistanis, and Interpol also published facial reconstructions of two suspected bombers.
Uganda's police said they had come to believe two suicide bombers were part of the attacks. Facial reconstructions of the two suspected suicide bombers suggested one was of Somali origin and the other a black African of unknown origin. "There is strong evidence that these attacks were carried out by suicide bombers." The facial identification were on two bodies which "have remained unclaimed and unidentified."
Three Kenyans — Hussein Hassan Agad, Mohamed Adan Abdow and Idris Magondu — were charged with 76 counts of murder. The Chief Magistrate, however, said they were not allowed to enter a plea because the court does not have jurisdiction to rule on the crime of terrorism. They are due back in court on 27 August, but will not be permitted to plead until the Directorate of Public Prosecutions decides the case is ready to move to the High Court. On 12 August 2010, chief of military intelligence James Mugira stated that all suspects at the time had been arrested. On 18 August 2010, Ugandan officials charged 32 people with murder. John Kagezi, the state attorney, said four of those charged confessed to the attacks. Court Hearings were to start for the Ugandan, Kenyan and Somali nationals on 2 September 2010; though police said continued investigations were ongoing and that more arrests may follow.
Al-Shabaab, one of the groups in the Islamist insurgency in Somalia, has claimed responsibility for the attacks.
The Wall Street Journal quotes an unnamed al-Shabaab senior leader stating, "We have reached our objective. We killed many Christians in the enemy capital (Kampala)." Reports also allege confirmation from other al-Shabaab militants. This is al-Shabaab's first attack outside of Somalia. On 9 July, al-Shabaab leader Sheikh Mukhtar Robow had called for attacks against Uganda and Burundi. Al-Shabaab leader Sheik Yusuf Sheik Issa told Reuters "Uganda is a major infidel country supporting the so-called government of Somalia. We know Uganda is against Islam and so we are very happy at what has happened in Kampala. That is the best news we ever heard." However he refused to confirm or deny responsibility after the attacks, also stating, "Uganda is one of our enemies. Whatever makes them cry, makes us happy. May Allah's anger be upon those who are against us." By 12 July, Sheik Ali Mohamud Rage from Mogadishu stated "We will carry out attacks against our enemy wherever they are ... No one will deter us from performing our Islamic duty." Sheik Ali Mohamud Rage, a spokesman for the group saying "Al-Shabab was behind the two blasts in Uganda. We thank the mujahideens that carried out the attack. We are sending a message to Uganda and Burundi, if they do not take out their Amisom troops from Somalia, blasts will continue and it will happen."
Other organisations that had been suspected in the attacks were the Allied Democratic Forces and Lord's Resistance Army, both of which are armed groups operating from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Tensions had also been reported to have flared among Ugandan nationals regarding the 10,000+ Somali population in Uganda, most of whom are refugees. The government has repeatedly downplayed or rejected connections between the attack and the nationality or race of the Somali resident population and the TFG (based in Kampala) had appealed to the Somali population to remain calm and cooperate with government investigations into the attack.
- Uganda – At an African Union summit in Kampala two weeks later, President Yoweri Museveni urged other African leaders to defeat "the terrorists" and "sweep them out of Africa."
- Supranational bodies
- Malawi/African Union – President of Malawi and Chairman of the African Union Bingu wa Mutharika condemned the perpetrators "in the strongest terms," and said "The African Union stands with you, my brother President [Museveni] and with the people of Uganda."
- Virtually every speaker at the AU summit condemned the attacks.
- Chile – The Government of Chile "condemned in the most energetic manner the terrorist attack in Kampala... attributed to the Somali extremist group Al Shabaab. Chile values the contribution of Uganda to peace forces in Somalia (AMISOM), which is part of the joint effors of the United Nations and the African Union to bring peace and development to that nation."
- Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic – The President of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, Mohamed Abdelaziz, sent a message of condolence to his Ugandan counterpart and families of the victims of the Kampala bomb attacks, and expressed condemn "in the strongest possible terms these attacks, as well as all forms of indiscriminate violence that aims to terrorise and inflict harm on innocent people".
- UK – Prime Minister David Cameron has also passed on his personal condolences to the Ugandan President. Foreign Secretary William Hague has condemned the bomb attacks in Kampala calling them "cowardly" and stressed the "UK will stand with Uganda in fighting such brutal acts of violence and terror." He also sent "heartfelt sympathies to President Museveni"
- USA – President Barack Obama, claimed in an interview with SABC, that the attack was an example of how Al-Qaeda does not regard "African life as valuable in and of itself."
- An anonymous U.S. government official confided to Jake Tapper of ABC News an administration belief that Al-Qaeda is a "racist organisation" which practices discriminatory techniques and sentiments in the deployment of black African operatives (e.g., only targeting black African recruits for lower-level missions such as suicide bombings) because economic conditions in most African countries supposedly make black Africans more susceptible to recruitment than Arabs.
- Vietnam – Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Spokesperson Nguyen Phuong Nga on 13 July said: "We are extremely indignant upon learning of the two bomb attacks on July 11 in the Ugandan Capital of Kampala, in which many civilians were killed and injured. We express our heart-felt condolences to the Government of Uganda and families of the victims. We strongly condemn the attacks at civilians and hold that perpetrators of these attacks should be appropriately punished."
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