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U.S. church workers wounded in Uganda bomb blasts

July 12, 2010

Nairobi

Church workers from the United States who had gone to Uganda to complete building a school were among those wounded in bomb blasts that took place during the 2010 World Cup soccer final. An Islamic extremist group is said to have claimed responsibility for the attacks.

The BBC reported on July 12 that the Somali Islamist group al-Shabab said it was behind the two blasts in the Ugandan capital Kampala the evening before, killing 74 people.

A spokesperson for the group, Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rage, threatened more attacks in a statement in Mogadishu.

Ugandan peacekeepers are in Somalia, and al-Shabab has threatened Kampala.

The blasts occurred in a rugby club and at an Ethiopian restaurant in Kampala, as crowds cheered the game between Netherlands and Spain. Authorities said 74 people were killed, among them a U.S aid worker. Of the dead, 10 were believed to be either Eritreans or Ethiopians.

Ugandan police said the bombings targeted football fans watching the World Cup final being played in Johannesburg.

“The mood is somber … People are still trying to find out what happened …We heard some missionaries were involved, but the details remain scanty,” Amanda Onapito, director of communication in the Anglican Church of Uganda, told ENInews from Kampala.

Church leaders condemned the attacks, and said they were seeking more information. Some of those wounded had been working with the local Bwaise Pentecostal Church.

Touring the blast site, President Yoweri Museveni said terrorists should fight soldiers, not people who are having fun. “We will get them. We shall go for them from where they have come,” said Museveni.

U.S President Barack Obama condemned the attacks as “deplorable and cowardly” and offered to provide assistance requested by the Uganda government.

On July 9, a commander of the al-Shabab, Sheikh Muktar Robow, had urged his fighters to attack sites in Uganda and Burundi.

The previous month, rebels in Somalia had condemned the staging of the World Cup in South Africa. They had warned that soccer originated from old Christian traditions, and was against the teaching of the Quran. They said those found watching the matches would be flogged in public or shot dead.

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