Uganda SWC blasts - conspiracy huge

2010-10-09 14:44

Kampala - If Ugandan police investigators are right, the size of the conspiracy behind the twin bombings during July's World Cup finals could hardly have been bigger.

Ugandan police - with help from the FBI and Kenyan police - have arrested 36 people from seven countries in the wake of blasts that rocked Uganda's capital, killing 76 people.

The suspects hail from at least three countries with known terror links: Somalia, Yemen and Pakistan. At least one suspect said he was recruited and trained by al-Qaeda. The Somali militant group that claimed responsibility for the blast, al-Shabaab, has known links with the international terror group.

Uganda's director of military intelligence, James Mugira, has said al-Qaeda is at least partly responsible, although authorities believe the planning took place in Somalia.

A day after the blasts, al-Shabaab, Somalia's most powerful militant group, said the bombings were retaliation for Ugandan troops' participation in the African Union peacekeeping mission in Mogadishu. The militant group promised more attacks, a threat Ugandan officials take seriously.

"Uganda cannot say that what happened on July 11th 2010 cannot happen again," said army spokesperson Felix Kulayigye. "It has happened in countries with better technology and better-facilitated security organizations than ours. We can only minimize it but cannot stop it."

The suspects in custody come from a wide background: businessmen, university students, and leaders of small mosques. Other suspects come from Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.

Well funded

"The conspiracy is really very big," said James Okello, a senior police investigator told The Associated Press. "It involves many people who also seem to be well-funded."

Edward Ochom, the head of Uganda's criminal investigations department, said the arrests show Uganda can successfully hunt down terrorists on its soil.

"It was not by mistake that we arrested those people," Ochom said. "Police have sufficient evidence that all those charged in courts of law with terrorism were somehow involved in the planting of the bombs."

Human rights officials, though, say some of the suspects have nothing to do with the bombings and were taken in because they are people of interest to the FBI and Kenyan authorities. Lawyer Ladislaus Rwakafuuzi represents eight Kenyans charged in the attacks. He said there is no evidence against most of his clients.

Ugandan authorities "are only interested in interrogating the bombers", Rwakafuuzi said. "The rest are being interrogated by the FBI and Kenyans."

At least 10 human rights organisations in Kenya dispute the arrest of Al-Amin Kimathi, an activist with the Muslim Human Rights Forum in Nairobi. A US embassy spokesperson in Kenya said previously that no representative of any US agency was involved in any way in Kimathi's arrest, detention or questioning.

Private investigator Luswata Ntusi said the only reason authorities have been able to locate so many suspects is because a fourth bomb at a third venue - a dance club - did not go off. The other bombs went off at a restaurant and an outdoor sports facility where people had gathered to watch the game.

Cellphone

One suspect, Haruna Luyima, was supposed to set off a bomb at the dance club, but changed his mind at the last minute. Luyima told a news conference in August that he did so because he didn't want to kill innocent people. Police later found his discarded cellphone, a huge lead that helped unravel the plot.

"After failing to set off the bomb, Luyima went and told some close relatives that he had been recruited to plant the bomb by his elder brother Isa Luyima and that he had not blasted his," Ntusi said. "The relatives are likely to have reported to police and that led to the arrest of many people involved. He made the work of police easy."

Another suspect in custody, Mohamood Mugisha, has said he was given $4 000 by al-Shabaab militants to help plan the attacks, including renting a house in Uganda. Mugisha says he drove the bombs in from Somalia, via Kenya, and he hinted that ethnically Somali police in Kenya were in on the plot and helped with border crossings.

For now, police in Uganda have increased their force's counter-terrorism training. There are more plain-clothes police on the streets and at government facilities. New bomb-scanning machines have been set up at shopping malls, bars, hotels and banks.

James Kasolo lost a cousin in the July attack. Like many Ugandans, he is worried about a second bombing, but he also worries that Ugandan authorities may now be moving too close to a security state.

"My daily fear is that they might hit again. I am worried," he said. "But again, these security men are everywhere, and unfortunately they scare me as well."


- SAPA
Read more on:    uganda  |  east africa  |  security
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

 

Inside News24

 
SPONSORED CONTENT
When is a mountain more than just a mountain? 2014-12-18 07:26

When it’s an adventure! A group of Old Mutual employees found out how much is enough courage, endurance and camaraderie to take on Africa's highest peak.

/News
 

Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!

It’s the season to be jolly – so we’ve rounded up some new Joburg hot spots!

 
 

I love summer.24

Summer Survey!
Great ideas for the best summer sandwiches!
Christmas lingerie to make this festive season the best one ever!
13 things you might not know about Disneyland

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

At last you are able to see the light. You are able to break through obstacles in an innovative and original way. Visualisation is...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.