The police chief in Kampala is blaming al-Qaeda and its Somali franchise, al-Shabaab, with good reason. The synchronized attacks certainly point to al-Qaeda; the targeting of an Ethiopian restaurant and venues showing the World Cup final resonate with two things the al-Shabaab jihadists detest, and al-Shabaab just threatened Uganda and Burundi in the past few days.
“Blasts at 2 sites in Uganda kill at least 30,” from the Associated Press, July 11:
KAMPALA, Uganda — Bombs exploded at two sites in Uganda’s capital late Sunday as people watched the World Cup final on TV, killing at least 30 people. Foreigners, including Europeans and possibly Americans, were believed to be among the casualties.
Police Chief Kale Kaihura said he believed that Somalia’s most feared militia — al-Shabab, which has pledged loyalty to al-Qaida — could be behind the attacks.
One of the bombs went off at an Ethiopian restaurant in Kampala, Uganda’s capital. Al-Shabab views Ethiopia as an enemy. The second blast went off at a restaurant called the Kyadondo Rugby Club.
Kaihura said 14 people were killed at the restaurant, and that he believed the toll at the Rugby Club was far higher than 14, though he did not have an exact number.
At the scenes of the two blasts chairs were overturned. Blood and pieces of flesh littered the floor.
Al-Shabab is Somalia’s most dangerous militant group, one that militant veterans of the Afghan, Pakistan and Iraq conflicts have helped train, according to international officials.
If Kaihura’s early suspicions that al-Shabab was responsible prove true, it would be the first time the group has carried out attacks outside of Somalia.
In Mogadishu, Sheik Yusuf Sheik Issa, an al-Shabab commander, told The Associated Press early Monday that he was happy with the attacks in Uganda. Issa refused to confirm or deny that al-Shabab was responsible for the bombings.
“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.
During prayers on Friday, another al-Shabab commander, Sheik Muktar Robow, had called for militants to attack sites in Uganda and Burundi — two nations that contribute troops to the African Union force in Mogadishu.
In addition to its troops in Mogadishu, Uganda also hosts Somali soldiers trained in U.S. and European backed training programs….