Uganda al-Shabab World Cup bomb mastermind found guilty

The mastermind of the 2010 bomb attacks in Uganda’s capital, Kampala, which killed 74 people, has been found guilty of terrorism.

Ugandan Isa Ahmed Luyima was one of seven to be convicted on this charge.

The Somalia-based Islamist militant group al-Shabab said it was behind the bombings, which happened during a screening of the World Cup final.

This is thought to be the first major conviction of al-Shabab suspects outside Somalia.

Thirteen men were standing trial on charges relating to the attack on two sites, a rugby club and an Ethiopian restaurant.

Six of the men were acquitted of terror and murder charges, but one of those was convicted of a lesser charge of accessory after the fact.

The militants targeted Uganda as the country’s army provides the largest number of troops to an African Union force fighting them in Somalia.

Outside, security was tight for Uganda’s most high-profile terror trial.

Inside, most of the accused sat through the six-hour judgement by Justice Alfonse Owiny Dollo, listening keenly and calmly.

From time to time some held their heads in their hands.

While the charges were being read out, one of the suspects appeared to be praying quietly.

Now that the verdicts have been delivered, the survivors have justice six years after the bombings.

And since the attacks a lot has changed here.

People no longer take security for granted and there is a heightened sense of vigilance with more security checks in public places such as bars and shopping malls.

The case was brought to court after a major investigation across East Africa, which was led by the American FBI.

A mobile phone found next to a bomb that failed to detonate helped investigators track down most of the suspects, says the BBC’s Catherine Byaruhanga in Kampala.

Scene at the Ethiopian Village restaurant in Kampala the morning after the blastImage copyrightAP
Image captionThe explosions at two venues in Uganda’s capital, Kampala, killed 74 people

The trial was delayed following allegations by some of the accused, including Luyima, that they were tortured by regional, US and British law enforcement agents.

Some also said they were abducted from Kenya or Tanzania and brought to Uganda to be prosecuted.

The Constitutional Court put aside those claims and said the trial could go ahead.

Source: BBC

Subscribe for notification