September 14, 2011 / 6:19 AM / 8 years ago

Two suspects plead guilty over Uganda blasts

KAMPALA (Reuters) - Two suspects in Uganda pleaded guilty on Tuesday to murder and terrorism charges connected to twin bomb blasts that struck soccer fans in the east African nation’s capital last year and killed 79 people, a court official said.

Muhamoud Mugisha and Edris Magondu, both Ugandans, admitted in a high court in the capital Kampala to participating in plots to explode bombs at a rugby field and an Ethiopian restaurant on July 11 last year.

The bombs exploded into crowds of revelers watching the finals of the World Cup.

“When they were brought to court today they pleaded guilty to several counts of terrorism, murder and attempted murder,” high court registrar Asiimwe Tadeo told Reuters.

“So the judge will now proceed to explain to them the facts and then sentencing will follow.”

Somalia’s al Qaeda-allied al Shaabab insurgents took responsibility for the attacks, saying it was retribution for Uganda’s troop deployments in Mogadishu as part of the African Union peace keeping mission.

The east African country forms the bulk of the A.U.-mandated AMISOM peace keeping force that is shoring up the teetering Transitional Federal Government (TFG).

In the months following the blasts, Uganda arrested more than 30 suspects of Ugandan and foreign nationalities but has since released most of them and now only 13 remain in custody.

Terrorism and murder charges in Uganda carry a maximum death sentence.

On Monday Uganda freed Kenyan human rights activist Al-Amin Kimathi who was arrested in September last year in connection with the attacks after the public prosecutor decided to drop all charges against him.

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