Uganda, Kampala. Ten people, including nine Somalis and one Kenyan who are accused of sneaking into Uganda on a terror mission, were yesterday charged in court and sent on further police detention for further interrogation.
It is alleged the suspects, who include two Somali women, belong to the Somalia terror group Al-Shabaab. They were taken to the Police Special Investigations Unit (SIU) at Kireka.
They are: Mahamad Abdulkadir, 31, Abdi Abdullahi, 26, Hassan Abduwali, 25, Mahamed Ahmed, 23, Yasimin Abdullahi, 20 and Hodan Ahmed, 23.
Others are: Yusuf Osman, 29, Abdi Mahamed, 29, Abdul Kadir, 24, and Mohamad Yusuf.
They will return to court for mention of their case on October 7.
They are charged with aiding and abetting terrorism contrary to Section 8 of the Anti-Terrorism Act and belonging to a terrorist organisation.
The suspects appeared before Buganda Road Chief Magistrate’s Court for mention of their case but could not plead to the charges because terrorism is a capital offence only tried by the High Court.
Grade One Magistrate Simon Kintu sent the accused to the SIU for further police interrogation after an application by the State Attorney, Mr Lino Anguzu. Mr Anguzu told court that the investigating officers still needed to interrogate the suspects further in order to complete the inquiries.
Prosecution alleges that the accused and others still at large in September this year, in diverse places in Uganda, Kenya and Somalia, aided, abetted and or rendered support to al-Shabaab, knowing and having reason to believe that such support would be used for or in connection with the preparation and commission of acts of terrorism.
Prosecution further alleges that the suspects between 2010 and September 2014 belonged to Al-Qaeda and its affiliate al-Shabaab, which are both listed as terrorist organisations under the Anti-Terrorism Act 2002 of Uganda.
How they were arrested
Police records indicate that these terror suspects were arrested two weeks ago. They were staying in rental houses they had turned into cells in Kampala suburbs of Kisenyi, Nakulabye, Kasubi, Busega and Lungujja to assemble the explosives they were going to use to bomb Kampala.
These records also show the suspects entered the country without passports through unofficial entry points along the borders with Kenya and South Sudan and boarded vehicles to Kampala.
The arrest of these suspects follows the threat by the new al al-Shabaab leader, Sheikh Ahmad Umar Abu Ubaidah, to revenge and attack East Africa after his predecessor, Abdi Ahmed Godane, was killed in a US air strike three weeks ago in Somalia.
THE BACKGROUND TO THE ATTACKS
Al-Shabaab revenge mission. The arrests came after the US embassy warned that al-Shabaab insurgents may try to exact revenge for a US air strike that killed the militant group’s commander. Ugandan troops, fighting in Somalia, reportedly provided intelligence that helped US special forces kill al-Shabaab’s chief in a devastating air strike.
Uganda’s role. Uganda’s government said the country – a major contributor to Amisom, the African Union force fighting al-Shabaab in Somalia – was “happy” at the death of Godane, and had provided the US with key intelligence on his whereabouts.
Previous attacks. During the World Cup final four years ago, al-Shabaab insurgents killed at least 76 people after setting off explosions that ripped through two restaurants in Kampala.
Al-Shabaab insurgents have claimed recent attacks in Kenya and Djibouti, and at home in Somalia. They have also claimed responsibility for the assault on the Westgate shopping centre that killed at least 67 people in the Kenyan capital Nairobi last September as well as for attacks on coastal regions. – Monitor
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