At least three dead in twin blasts in Uganda

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At least three people were killed Friday in twin suicide bombings in Kampala, the capital of Uganda, police said.

“We got three dead bodies, we are yet to establish whether it was three bombers or if it was one bomber who detonated himself and then another bomber who carried out the second bombing,” Eugene Ssekate, the director of Criminal Investigations Department, told CNN.

The twin blasts, carried out in close succession, occurred near a police officer’s home and near the city’s police headquarters.

National Police spokesperson Emilian Kayima said the explosions occurred at 4:16 p.m. local time (6:16 a.m. ET).

Kayima said the first blast was caused by a “small improvised explosive device,” while the second was caused by a “suicide bomber.”

Police defused a second device they had found near a parking lot of the mobile phone company Airtel, Kayima said.

The United States condemned the attacks in the strongest terms.

“The United States stands in solidarity and partnership with the government and people of Uganda in the ongoing fight against violent extremism and terrorism,” a spokesperson for the State Department said.

“We are committed to supporting our friends in Uganda to fight these efforts and to bring perpetrators to justice.”

Homemade devices may have used in the bombings, police said, but no further details were immediately available.

Eyewitness accounts

London Zoo resident Diana Mackael told CNN via text message that she saw an explosion at her window.

“I heard a loud bang, then we heard a plane flying overhead, I moved downstairs then I heard another bang,” she said.

“I went to the window and saw body parts in the street. I got in touch with the police and an ambulance then went outside to see what was happening.”

She said at first she saw just an explosion, but then some people rushed into the street.

“There are bodies in the street, blood stains, bodies covered up, and police on foot and in cars, I don’t know what’s happening yet.”

Gunshots were heard as officers evacuated buildings near the explosions, local television station Channel 7 reported.

Luka Lugonde, a spokesman for a youth group called the Youth Federation of Uganda, told Channel 7 that his organization was the target of the attacks.

“Our members were camped by our office at one of the homes that were bombed. That is the objective of the bombers — our youth. And it is very unfortunate that our members were bombed,” he said.

Uganda has long been a target of terror groups including Al Shabaab, which carried out an attack at the upmarket shopping mall in Mogadishu last week that killed at least 36 people and injured dozens.

Bombings have taken place in Uganda’s capital before. In 2010, a car bomb in downtown Kampala killed seven people, and in 2016 a deadly gun attack in a restaurant in the downtown area killed 28 people and injured hundreds.

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