Uganda holds 6 terror suspects, seizes explosives

2014-09-15 15:55
File: AP

File: AP

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Kampala - At least six terror suspects were arrested over the weekend in a raid on an al-Shabaab cell that was apparently plotting an attack in this East African country, a Ugandan military spokesperson said on Monday.

Explosives were seized from the suspects, all of whom are of Somali origin and are currently under interrogation, said Lieutenant Colonel Paddy Ankunda.

"This is a controlled operation. There could be more arrests," he said, offering no more details.

The US Embassy in Uganda said on Monday that a possible terrorist attack had been disrupted after warning US citizens on Saturday to stay at home overnight amid an operation to foil a terror plot.

"Based on co-ordination with Ugandan authorities, and taking into account the heightened security measures the government has put in place, we believe that the immediate threat of an al-Shabaab attack has been effectively countered," said the statement from the embassy.

 "We remain vigilant to the possibility that some of the attack cell could still be at large, but we believe that it is appropriate to rescind the guidance to shelter-in-place.

Security awareness

We urge, however, that all US citizens maintain heightened security awareness and continue to monitor email and news outlets for any updates."

Uganda, which has troops fighting al-Shabaab in Somalia, has been on high alert amid concerns the al-Qaeda-linked Islamic extremists are plotting an attack similar to the assault on a mall in Kenya a year ago.

In 2010 al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for bomb attacks that killed more than 70 people watching a soccer World Cup final on giant screens in Uganda's capital, Kampala.

Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Sierra Leone have deployed troops to Somalia as part of an African Union force bolstering the country's weak government against al-Shabaab’s insurgency.

The African Union troops pushed al-Shabaab out of the capital, Mogadishu, in 2011. A similar offensive is under way to oust the militants from their remaining strongholds in southern Somalia.

In a week, Kenya will commemorate the anniversary of the Westgate Mall attack in which at least 67 people were killed.

Authorities in Kenya say they are on high alert for possible attacks by al-Shabaab as the anniversary approaches.

Read more on:    al-shabaab  |  kenya  |  somalia  |  uganda  |  east africa

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