Bombs kill 64 in Uganda
Bombs exploded at two sites in Uganda's capital late Sunday as people watched the World Cup final on TV, and officials at the scene put the death toll at 64.
Foreigners, including Europeans and Americans, were among the casualties. The U.S. Embassy in Kampala confirmed Monday that one American was killed in the attacks, Reuters reported.
Police Chief Kale Kaihura said he believed that Somalia's most feared militia — al-Shabab, which has pledged loyalty to al-Qaeda — could be behind the attacks. Al-Shabab views Ethiopia as an enemy.
One of the bombs exploded at an Ethiopian restaurant in Kampala where at least three Americans were wounded. The second blast, the deadliest one, was at a restaurant called the Kyadondo Rugby Club.
Kaihura earlier put the death toll at around 30, but a police official on site said the toll had risen to 64 — 49 at the rugby club and 15 at the Ethiopian restaurant. The official said he could not be identified.
Blood and flesh
At the scenes of the two blasts, chairs were overturned and blood and pieces of flesh littered the floors. A head and legs were found at the rugby club, suggesting a suicide bomber may have been to blame, an AP reporter at the scene said.
At least three Americans — part of a church group from Pennsylvania — were wounded at the Ethiopian restaurant. One was Kris Sledge, 18, of Selinsgrove.
"I remember blacking out, hearing people screaming and running," Sledge said from the hospital. His right leg was wrapped and he had burns on his face. "I love the place here but I'm wondering why this happened and who did this … At this point we're just glad to be alive."
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," he said. "Whatever makes them cry, makes us happy. May Allah's anger be upon those who are against us."
Militants urged to attack
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 the U.S. and in European-backed training programs.
Kenyan Foreign Minister Moses Wetangula told AP last week that enough veteran militants from the Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan conflicts have relocated to Somalia to spark worry inside the international community.
International militants have flocked to Somalia because the country's government controls only a few square kilometres of the capital, Mogadishu, leaving most of the rest of the country as lawless territory where insurgents can train and plan attacks unimpeded.
Somali President Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed on Saturday appealed for the international community to do more to help his country fight al-Qaeda linked militants. There are about 6,000 African Union peacekeepers in the country.