Uganda: Intimidation Attack Backfires


July 19, 2010: The government and the traditional kingdom of Buganda (Baganda) remain at odds. The national elections next year may well test the strength of the Bugandan king, Ronald Mutebi. The king appears to be backing opponents of President Yoweri Museveni.

The government released pictures of terrorist suspects it was still seeking. Some of the terror suspects are Pakistani. The government has emails and other documents to work from. The evidence is piling up about the attack, and who was involved. There was a lot of al Qaeda involvement.

July 18, 2010: Security personnel arrested at least 20 more people suspected of being involved in the July 11 bombing attacks. A police report said that the new group of suspects included Somalis and Ethiopians as well as Ugandans.

July 16, 2010: President Yoweri Museveni said that Uganda will retaliate against the Al Shabaab Islamic extremist group which launched the terror attacks on July 11. He said members of Al Shabaab are criminals and cowards. Museveni said that Uganda will add another 2000 soldiers to the peacekeeping force in Somalia. That is one form of retaliation. Around 6000 peacekeepers are now on the ground in Somalia. Museveni has said that should be increased to 20000 soldiers.

July 15, 2010: Al Shabaab issued a statement saying that it intends to launch more attacks on Uganda. The statement said Al Shabaab's attacks are retaliation since Uganda has troops in Somalia serving with the African Union peacekeeping contingent. Over the past two years Al Shabaab has frequently threatened Uganda with attacks on its soil. Al Shabaab also said that the July 11 attack was carried out by its Saleh Nabhan Brigade. Nabhan was born in Kenya. He was allegedly involved in the 1998 attacks on the US embassies in Tanzania and Kenya. He was slain by US special operations forces in 2009. The Al Shabaab attack is viewed by many black Africans as just one more in 2,500 years of Arab attacks on them. The Arabs were the biggest slavers in eastern Africa. After the advent of Islam, Arab Moslems made a huge effort to convert (usually by force) any tribes that escaped slavery. Christianity came to East Africa very early, via Ethiopia. But when British and German imperialists showed up many of the tribes of the interior became Christian. The fault line, as it is called, between Islam and Christianity runs through northern Uganda. though to be fair it is a very smudged fault line. North of Uganda lies Sudan, and south Sudan is predominantly Christian and animist. The looming north-south civil war could reignite, pitting northern Moslems against the southerners. Uganda would likely be involved (perhaps overtly) as an ally of the south. Al Shabaab would unquestionably support the north.

July 14, 2010: The U.S. revealed that US FBI agents had deployed to Uganda to help with the investigation of the July 11 terror attacks. The U.S. does not think the danger in Uganda is severe and the State Department has not issued a travel warning. Tourists are not staying away in great numbers because of the attacks.

July 11, 2010: Two bombs exploded in Uganda's capital, Kampala, killing 76 people. Another bomb was found, unused. The Somali Islamist extremist organization Al Shabaab claimed it had conducted the attacks. One of the targets was the Ethiopian Village restaurant. Ethiopia opposes Al Shabaab. Both Uganda and Ethiopia support Somalia's transitional national government. Uganda has peacekeeping soldiers in Somalia. At all three attack sites large crowds were watching the final game of the World Cup soccer tournament. The government said that it had quickly increased security forces in the capital.

July 6, 2010: The government said it was increasing security in western Uganda. There are reports that members of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebel group intend to cross the Uganda-Congo border. The ADF militia is fleeing from a Congolese Army offensive. The rebels have been hiding out in the Rwenzori Mountains.



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