L.A. TIMES- Kampala, Uganda — — In simultaneous bombings bearing the hallmarks of
international terrorists, two explosions ripped through crowds watching the World Cup final
in two places in Uganda's capital late Sunday, killing 64 people, police said. One American was
slain and several were wounded.
The deadliest attack occurred at a rugby club as people watched the game between Spain
and the Netherlands on a large-screen TV outdoors. The second blast took place 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.
The White House said it was ready to assist Ugandan authorities if requested.
"The president is deeply saddened by the loss of life resulting from these deplorable and
cowardly attacks, and sends his condolences to the people of Uganda and the loved ones of
those who have been killed or injured," White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said.
A senior U.S. administration official said, "We are in contact with our embassy in Kampala and
in touch with the FBI regarding government of Uganda requests for assistance."
Kampala's police chief said he believed that Somalia's most-feared militant group, Shabab,
could be responsible. Shabab is known to have links with Al Qaeda, and it counts militant
veterans from the Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan conflicts among its ranks.
A head and legs were found at the rugby club, suggesting a suicide bomber may have been
to blame, an Associated Press 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, Pa.
"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."
The bombings left shocked survivors standing among corpses, blood, pieces of flesh and
"We were watching soccer here and then when there were three minutes to the end of the
match, an explosion came … and it was so loud," Juma Seiko said at the Kampala Rugby Club,
Heavily armed police cordoned off both blast sites and searched the areas with sniffer dogs
while dazed survivors helped pull the wounded away from the wreckage.
Police Chief Kale Kaihura originally said that at least 30 people had been killed, but that the
toll could rise.
Later, a senior police official at the scene said 64 people had died — 49 from the rugby club
and 15 at the Ethiopian restaurant. The official told the Associated Press that he could not be
Kaihura said he suspected Shabab. Its fighters, including two recruited from the Somali
communities in the United States, have carried out multiple suicide bombings in Somalia.
If Kaihura's suspicions prove true, it would be the first time the group has carried out attacks
Simultaneous attacks are also one of Al Qaeda's hallmarks.
In Mogadishu, Somalia, Sheik Yusuf Sheik Issa, a Shabab commander, told the Associated
Press early Monday that he was happy with the attacks in Uganda. Issa refused to confirm or
deny that Shabab was responsible.
"Uganda is one of our enemies," he said. "Whatever makes them cry makes us happy. May
God's anger be upon those who are against us."
During weekly Friday prayers in Somalia two days before the double bombing, another
Shabab commander, Sheik Muktar Robow, called for militants to attack sites in Uganda and
Burundi — two nations that contribute troops to the African Union peacekeeping force in
In addition to its troops in Mogadishu, Uganda also hosts Somali soldiers trained in U.S.- and
Kenya's foreign minister, Moses Wetangula, told the Associated Press last week that enough
veteran militants from the Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan conflicts have relocated to Somalia
to spark worry in the international community.
International militants have flocked to Somalia because the country's government controls
only a few square miles of the capital, Mogadishu, leaving most of the rest of the country as
lawless territory where insurgents can train and plan attacks unimpeded.
Ethiopian troops invaded Somalia in 2006 to oust an Islamist movement from Mogadishu. That
sparked the Islamist insurgency that still rages.
Copyright © 2010, The Los Angeles Times
Uganda blasts kill 64 watching World Cup final on TV
Simultaneous bombings target two separate crowds watching the match in Kampala, the capital.