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74 dead World Cup watchers in Uganda

Posted by on Jul. 12, 2010 at 11:26 AM
  • 11 Replies


Al-Qaida-linked militants claim Uganda blasts

Al-Shabab says it is responsible for attacks that killed 74 World Cup watchers

KAMPALA, Uganda — An al-Qaida-linked Somali militant group claimed responsibility Monday for twin bombings in Uganda that killed 74 people watching the World Cup final on TV, saying the militants would carry out attacks "against our enemy" wherever they are.

The blasts came two days after a commander with the Somali group, al-Shabab, called for militants to attack sites in Uganda and Burundi, two nations that contribute troops to the African Union peacekeeping force in Somalia.

Al-Shabab, whose ranks are swelled by militant veterans of the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, has long threatened to attack outside of Somalia's borders, but the bombings late Sunday are the first time the group has done so.

"We will carry out attacks against our enemy wherever they are," said Sheik Ali Mohamud Rage, a militant spokesman in Mogadishu. "No one will deter us from performing our Islamic duty."

Ugandan officials had said earlier that they suspected the Somali group was involved. One of the targets was an Ethiopian restaurant — a nation despised by the al-Shabab militants.

The attacks on two soft targets filled with civilians raised concerns about the capabilities and motives of al-Shabab, which the U.S. State Department has declared a terrorist organization.

The blasts went off as people watched the game between Spain and the Netherlands late Sunday.

"We were watching soccer here and then when there were three minutes to the end of the match an explosion came ... and it was so loud," witness Juma Seiko told Reuters.

Several Americans from a Pennsylvania church group were wounded in the restaurant attack, including Kris Sledge, 18, of Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania.

"I remember blacking out, hearing people screaming and running," Sledge said from the hospital. His right leg was wrapped and he had burns on his face. "I love the place here but I'm wondering why this happened and who did this ... At this point we're just glad to be alive."

Joann Lockard, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Embassy in Kampala, confirmed one American was killed.

San Diego-based group Invisible Children, which helps child soldiers, identified the dead American as former aid worker Nate Henn.

At the time of the blasts, Henn was in Uganda visiting his aunt, NBC News reported. Henn had previously volunteered in Uganda, NBC said.

'Whatever makes them cry, makes us happy'
In Mogadishu, Somalia, Sheik Yusuf Sheik Issa, an al-Shabab commander, told The Associated Press early Monday that he was happy with the attacks in Uganda.

"Uganda is one of our enemies. Whatever makes them cry, makes us happy. May Allah's anger be upon those who are against us," Sheik said.

In addition to Uganda's troops in Mogadishu, Uganda also hosts Somali soldiers trained in U.S. and European-backed programs.

White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said the U.S. was prepared to provide any necessary assistance to the Ugandan government.  

President Barack Obama was "deeply saddened by the loss of life resulting from these deplorable and cowardly attacks," Vietor said.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton joined Obama in offering condolences and added, "The United States stands with Uganda. We have a long-standing, close friendship with the people and government of Uganda and will work with them to bring the perpetrators of this crime to justice."

Kenya's foreign minister, Moses M. Wetangula, told The Associated Press last week that enough veteran militants from the Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan conflicts have relocated to Somalia to spark worry inside the international community.

International militants have flocked to Somalia because the country's government controls only a few square miles of the capital, Mogadishu, leaving most of the rest of the country as lawless territory where insurgents can train and plan attacks unimpeded.

NBC News, The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.




by on Jul. 12, 2010 at 11:26 AM
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Replies (1-10):
by on Jul. 12, 2010 at 11:38 AM

Horrible... just horrible.

by Joqui on Jul. 12, 2010 at 11:54 AM

 I agree and if I am not mistaken there were warnings about this happening before the world cup even started.. just sad...

Quoting OhiogirlinCali:

Horrible... just horrible.


by on Jul. 12, 2010 at 11:58 AM

Awful. Poor people trying to enjoy a world past time, and this happens.

by Silver Member on Jul. 12, 2010 at 1:02 PM

Very sad. Those poor families

by René on Jul. 12, 2010 at 1:10 PM

Very sad.  I cant imagine.



How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of both the weak and strong, because sometime in life you will have been one or all of these. George Washington Carver

by Christy on Jul. 12, 2010 at 1:35 PM

Does this not suggest that perhaps the world should realize they consider the entirety their enemy?

by Bronze Member on Jul. 12, 2010 at 5:23 PM

Terrible atrocity...

by on Jul. 12, 2010 at 5:57 PM

This is the first I have heard of this. Did this happen today?

by on Jul. 12, 2010 at 6:00 PM

Here is another article about the attack:

by Member on Jul. 12, 2010 at 6:02 PM

 That is horrible.

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