Bombs exploded in two locations in Kampala, Uganda on Sunday while audiences gathered to watch the World Cup final, killing 64 people including at least one American. At least 65 more were injured in the blasts. The police chief in Kampala suspected the Somalian extremist group Al-Shabab of being behind the attack.
The deadliest attack occurred at a rugby club as people watched the soccer game between Spain and the Netherlands on a large-screen TV outdoors. The second blast was at an Ethiopian restaurant, where at least three Americans were wounded.
One American was killed in the blasts, said Joann Lockard, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Embassy in Kampala.
Kampala’s police chief said Somalia’s most feared militant group, al-Shabab, could be responsible for the attack. Al-Shabab is known to have links with al-Qaeda, and it counts militant veterans from the Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan conflicts among its ranks.
It’s a little early to assign that kind of blame, but an al-Shabab commander, while not confirming his group’s involvement, proclaimed himself happy with the bombings in Kampala, calling Uganda “one of our enemies.” Another al-Shabab sheik called for attacks on Uganda at Friday services. Uganda and Burundi have African Union peacekeeping troops in Somalia, protecting the barely extant transitional government. However, Uganda has also gone through a long civil war, and remnants of that struggle may have the motivation for a large-scale attack. Also, al-Shabab has never carried out an attack outside of Somalia.
Nevertheless, the police chief added that the coordinated attacks on crowds in a public place had all the hallmarks of terrorism. Furthermore, the sites attacked appeared to be gathering places for expats.