Monday, July 12, 2010

Close to 60 confirmed dead in Kampala bomb blasts

KAMPALA - What should have been a feisty viewing of the 2010 World Cup final between Netherlands and Spain turned tragic as three bomb explosions ripped through Kampala city suburbs, killing more than 50, and leaving scores critically injured. 
By 2.00am this morning, 15 bodies had been received at the city mortuary at Mulago Hospital as ambulances and Police patrol teams ferried the injured to various hospitals. Most of the deceased were part of the revellers at the popular Kyadondo Rugby Club in Lugogo. 
The first bomb went off in Ethiopian Village in Kabalagala. The explosion went off during half-time. The other two went off at the Kyadondo Rugby Club at 11.18pm–one after the other–in close succession. 
The Police suspect that the Al-Shabaab militants from Somalia could have been behind the attacks. “We have been suspecting that these people could be planning something like this. At least I can confirm that 13 people have been killed in the Kabalagala incident and I am still waiting for reports from Kyadondo,” the Inspector General of Police, Maj. Gen. Kale Kayihura, said on NTV-Uganda. 
Asked whom he meant by “these people”, Kayihura said: “Al Shabaab.” The Kabalagala bomb, the Police said, could have been targeting foreigners. 
The Police could not put a figure on the casualties at Kyadondo, though eyewitnesses put the dead at more than 40. At the epicentre of the blast, as seen on TV, lay the severed head of a Somali-looking man, who obviously bore the brunt of the explosion. It is therefore reasonable to assume that it was a suicide bombing. There were also unconfirmed reports of other blasts in Ntinda and Bwaise. By 1:00am, Kyadondo was deserted, save for the injured awaiting evacuation, as security operatives sealed off the club. 
Witnesses said the two bombs exploded right in front of the giant screen relaying a live telecast from South Africa. The night was soon after punctured by sirens on racing Police patrol trucks as the Police and counter-terrorism unit moved in. The explosions took the victims by surprise as many were blown off their chairs and others died in their seats. Many others could have been killed and injured in the pandemonium that ensued. 
In Kamwokya, a suburb popularly frequented by expatriates, all was quiet, save for the car park which was full of vehicles where the Dutch Community hosted a live telecast of the match at Iguana restaurant. Ntinda, a suburb that “never sleeps”, was deserted as several bars emptied hastily. Public transport was scarce, save for a few brave boda-boda riders. Most revellers in groups were seen walking home, some still carrying the famous vuvuzela, a trademark of the 2010 World Cup, South Africa. 

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