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Ugandans Take Stock of Fatal Blasts Linked to Terror

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Special to the NNPA from the GIN –

(GIN) – Ugandans shared their grief and shock over three deadly bomb blasts Sunday whose death toll has reportedly reached 74.

Africans from the region took to the internet seeking solace over the many who died, never suspecting a threat at the Ethiopian Village Restaurant in Kabalagala and later at the Kyadondo Rugby Club where thousands had gathered to watch the windup of the World Soccer Cup.

“After the first blast, which occurred slightly on the sidelines of the crowded area, many people ducked under their chairs, some lying down and using the chairs as shelter. Barely a minute later, I heard the second blast, right in the middle of the crowd. It was more ear-piercing and louder,” recalled Richard Wanambwa, a survivor.

"What had been a football party turned into a sea of chaos. A blanket of smoke hung over the field, with wails and groans being the signature sound,” he recalled.

Among the dead were 10 Eritreans and one American working with a missionary group. Six Americans were injured in the explosions, according to Police Chief Kale Kayihura, adding this is not new in Uganda. The country suffered similar attacks in 1997, 1998 and 1999.

Norbert Mao of Uganda’s Democratic Party linked the attacks to Uganda’s deployment in Somalia. Uganda has the largest troop presence in that conflicted country. The Ethiopian restaurant may have faced retaliation over that country’s support of the isolated Somali president who despite backing from the U.S. and international community controls a tiny fraction of the capital city.

An Ethiopian-born Eritrean, Massawa, wrote to the BBC online: “I am devastated to read about the slaughter of my people by murders driven by religious zealotry. This kind of act should be denounced and stopped at its root.”

Massawa blamed “a misguided foreign policy of the United States to support the thugs and warlords who are unable to govern more than a few block of Mogadishu. Al-Shabab and other Islamic groups, though religious fanatics, govern most of Somalia and therefore should be brought-in to the negotiating table.”

“African leaders who have no vested interest in Somalia should facilitate constructive talks to bring about peace. How can you have Ugandan and Burundian "Peace Keepers" when there is no peace to keep?”

Foreign troops, he said, “only embolden Al-Shabab and others” – “The United States, AMISOM and the Ethiopian army need to stay away from Somalia and only assist the people in their endeavour to find lasting peace.”

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