KAMPALA (Reuters) - One of the suspected masterminds of last month’s bomb attacks on Uganda’s capital Kampala said on Thursday his anger at the United States spurred his involvement in the plot, adding that it was intended to kill Americans.
Issa Ahmed Luyima, 33, a former librarian, was one of four Ugandan suspects paraded in front of journalists by the east African nation’s Chieftancy of Military Intelligence (CMI) before he made a public confession.
“I was reluctant to pick on Ugandans. My rage was with the Americans whom I deemed responsible for all the suffering of Muslims around the world ... we thought they are the ones who planted the TGF (interim government) in Somalia,” Luyima said.
He said he regretted the loss of Ugandan lives when three bombs ripped through a bar at a rugby club and an Ethiopian restaurant where soccer fans were watching the World Cup final on July 11.
Somalia’s al Shabaab Islamic militants later claimed responsibility, saying the attacks were revenge for Uganda’s deployment of peacekeeping troops in Somalia. Ugandan soldiers form the backbone of the 6,300 strong AMISOM force.
Ugandan Police say at least two of the bombs were detonated by suicide bombers while a third was likely triggered by a mobile phone.
Luyima said he chose the Ethiopian restaurant as a target because the blasts were likely to kill Ethiopians and westerners.
Hardline Islamists accuse Somalia’s beleaguered interim government of being a puppet of the West and Ethiopia. Ethiopia invaded its neighbour in late 2006 to force an Islamist movement out of Somalia’s capital Mogadishu.
“That was my rage and that’s why I picked on the Ethiopian restaurant because of that mix-up of Ethiopians and westerners, Ethiopians are also a big part of our enemy,” Luyima said.
Three Kenyans have been charged with several counts of murder and terrorism for their roles in the attacks.
Luyima and his accomplices have not yet been charged but have confessed to planning and facilitating the attacks, including renting a house to host the suicide bombers, carrying them to their targets and planting a fourth bomb that was defused by the police before it exploded.
The head of the CMI, Brigadier James Mugira, said Uganda was delivering on its promise to hunt the perpetrators down and bring them to justice.