Monday, July 12, 2010

Explosions in Kampala

So far 74 people have been reported dead, and at least as many injured, in two bomb attacks last night in Kampala, the capital of Uganda. The bombs targeted crowds in two locations where people had gathered to watch the World Cup finals Sunday night.

Somehow this feels closer than any attack in a neighbouring country ever could. I've lived in Kampala. I've been at the Kyadondo Rugby Club where two bombs went off, killing at least 60. It's a relatively small club, very cosy with a couple pool tables and an outdoor barbeque. And a big field where people tended to walk off hand in hand, seeing where their passion, and the eternal summer nights, would take them.

I can't help but think of the people I know there, people who were likely to have gone to watch the World Cup final. Hell, if I had been in Kampala I would probably have been there myself.

Somali militants are said to have placed the bombs, three in total. Uganda has African Union peacekeeping troops in Somalia, a country which has practically been taken over by extremists the past years. The statement from the Somali militants reads;
"We know Uganda is against Islam and so we are very happy at what has happened in Kampala. That is the best news we ever heard."
They obviously haven't been in Kampala; there are as many mosques as there are churches.

It doesn't make much sense, killing people who are gathered to watch a football match. Then again, extremists who aim at killing as many innocent people as possible never did make much sense.

I'm just waiting to hear from friends in Kampala. I know people who lost friends in the attacks... I have to say this is quite surreal. Africa sounds dangerous to most people, but I would never have thought anything like this could ever happen in Kampala.

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