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US, Britain join hunt for city bombers

By Vision Reporter

Added 13th July 2010 03:00 AM

AMERICAN and British agents have joined hands with Uganda’s security forces to investigate the twin bombings that have so far killed 76 people and left a similar number injured.

AMERICAN and British agents have joined hands with Uganda’s security forces to investigate the twin bombings that have so far killed 76 people and left a similar number injured.

By Steven Candia
and Polly Kamukama

AMERICAN and British agents have joined hands with Uganda’s security forces to investigate the twin bombings that have so far killed 76 people and left a similar number injured.

The New York Times, quoting Philip J. Crowley, a US State Department spokesman, said the US had sent three agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and two diplomatic security agents to Uganda to help with the investigations.

An American aid worker was killed in the attack, while five others were injured.

“The United States stands shoulder to shoulder with Uganda in the fight against terrorism,” the New York Times quotes Crowley as saying.

However, Police boss Maj. Gen. Kale Kayihura was cagey on the subject of foreign involvement in his press conference at the Media Centre yesterday, preferring to say that Uganda’s security forces are collaborating with many partners.

“A number of countries have expressed their desire to work with us,” he said.

However, sources revealed yesterday that a team from the UK had already arrived in the country, complete with a mobile forensic laboratory: “The number of foreign experts is bound to swell as more are expected in the country,” the source said. The team from the UK is said to have arrived on Monday.

Despite the American casualties, US officials said they did not believe the attacks were aimed at Americans.

The US helps with counterterrorism operations in the countries that border Somalia, according to officials quoted by the New York Times.

American involvement in the affair began with President Barack Obama’s telephone call to President Yoweri Museveni on Monday to express his condolences for the loss of life in the attack. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Obama offered to provide any support or assistance needed in Uganda.

Al Shabaab, a Somali militia with links to al-Qaeda, has claimed responsibility for the bombings. The US State Department has declared al-Shabaab a terrorist organization.

Crowley said the US would work with Uganda, Kenya, and other African countries to help stabilize Somalia. But American officials said al Shabaab were an outgrowth of a daunting array of other issues, including refugees, illegal arms trade and piracy on the seas off Somalia.

The US State Department officials said evidence backed al-Shabaab’s claim that it staged the deadly attacks in Kampala.

They said, however, that the bombings at two sites screening the World Cup final failed to shake Uganda’s determination to continue its lead in the African Union peacekeeping force in Somalia.
Crowley revealed that the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Johnnie Carson, telephoned Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni after the bombings to reiterate US support in the face of what he called the “cold-blooded murder” of innocent civilians.

Crowley said Museveni told Carson that Uganda remained committed to the mission in Somalia, which he said constitutes the strongest possible retort to al-Shabaab and its “narrow, violent vision of the future” for Somalia.

“If al-Shabaab’s intent in orchestrating this was to somehow weaken Uganda’s resolve. Every indication we have says the opposite,” said Crowley.

“(Museveni) is determined to continue Uganda’s constructive action, both in Somalia and elsewhere in the region. So if this was somehow aimed at punishing or weakening Uganda’s resolve, we think that this has backfired.”

US, Britain join hunt for city bombers

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