Bomb attacks on busy Ugandan market that left scores dead are the work of the Islamic State, according to a group affiliated with the terror group.
At least 37 people were killed in the twin bombings, which targeted a busy market in Kiboga on Sunday. Ugandan television showed footage of bloodied, lifeless bodies scattered in the street, and many shops and car dealerships damaged.
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The bombs contained explosive shrapnel and large amounts of nails, people with whom Reuters spoke said. Reuters was unable to verify the source of the information.
“Uganda to avenge the killing of the sunnah! Islamic State directs this attack,” Reuters cited a statement on the group’s Aamaq news agency.
A police spokesman, Andrew Felix Kaweesi, said authorities were investigating the background of the group responsible.
The bombings were the first major attack in Uganda since the West African nation joined a US-led effort earlier this year to rout the Islamic State-affiliated al-Shabaab from a stretch of Somali territory it controls.
Somalia’s al-Shabaab, which aims to topple the country’s Western-backed government and impose its harsh version of sharia law, frequently carries out attacks in East Africa, including deadly bombings on restaurants, hotels and embassies.
Uganda has dispatched troops to Somalia as part of the 14,000-strong African Union peacekeeping force that has pushed al-Shabaab back into Somalia.
Uganda dispatched troops to Somalia in 2014 as part of the 14,000-strong African Union peacekeeping force that has pushed al-Shabaab back into Somalia. The bombings followed repeated warnings by Ugandan security officials of an imminent attack by groups linked to the Islamic State in the country.
“The [West Africa] region is a hotbed of terrorism. West Africa is a terror zone,” said the UPDF military spokesman, Emmanuel Chirchir.
Uganda has had a troubled history of terrorism linked to the Lord’s Resistance Army, a guerrilla movement led by Joseph Kony which terrorised parts of the country for more than two decades.
David Nsaba Buturo, Uganda’s intelligence chief, told the BBC that IS followers in Uganda had been in contact with a group in Syria to receive instructions for the attack.