Written by Staff Writer
JOHANNESBURG – An Islamic State-linked group has claimed responsibility for an attack on Uganda’s main military compound in Kampala and another deadly blast in a busy commercial area, and warned more attacks were to come.
The group which calls itself Al-Shabaab Abu Sayyaf, based in East Africa, released a video posted on Telegram Sunday on behalf of an offshoot of ISIS known as Al-Murabitoon.
Nabil Elomar, the head of the East African police unit, said a bomb ripped through a KFC restaurant at the gate of the sprawling barracks. A second blast occurred in the nearby Entebbe International Airport, killing four people, he added.
Survivors reported hearing “booms” at the Entebbe terminal during the evening rush hour.
It’s the first time Al-Murabitoon has claimed direct responsibility for a deadly bombing. The group on Twitter pointed out that it was joined in its attacks by both Al-Shabaab and the PLO.
“This is the first time that we got to claim this kind of responsibility which means a level of sophistication in our organization which is amazing,” Elomar said.
He said it was likely the same group behind the blast at Entebbe, which happened about 50 minutes before the KFC explosion.
The suspected terrorist was arrested Friday by police, who found explosives and guns at his house, the BBC reported.
The Uganda police believe the suspect and the Sunday explosion are linked, the BBC quoted national police spokesman Emilian Kayima as saying.
Kayima urged the public to remain vigilant “so that we don’t get carried away by these stupid attacks that we are seeing.”
The US Embassy in Kampala condemned the attack.
“The United States remains a strong supporter of the Ugandan and Ugandan people’s efforts to confront violent extremism, and we stand with them in their fight against terrorists,” it said in a statement.
Uganda’s prime minister promised to get to the bottom of the attacks.
“I assure you that it will be investigated,” Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda said.
“It will be investigated, and those behind the bombings will be brought to book. I have no idea why they would do such a thing, but we must find out.”
East Africa is known for frequent terror attacks by al Qaeda-linked terror group al Shabaab or ISIS-affiliated group ISIS.
In 2016, the London Bridge attackers and the four men who attacked a mosque in Finsbury Park in north London, Britain, were linked to Al Shabaab.