JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria claim responsibility for a pair of suicide bombings outside Uganda’s capital on Sunday, its only official media outlet said on Monday.
The Africanews website reported that the two suicide bombings outside the country’s National Intelligence Agency headquarters and the Parliament Building in Kampala left more than 100 people injured. The claim of responsibility by the Islamic State came in the form of a weekly issue of its weekly Al-Naba publication.
According to the Associated Press, Australian anti-terror specialist Greg Barton said the bombings in Kampala were the work of a “right-wing extremist” or Islamist gunmen, given that the timing of the attacks and their choice of targets in an area not heavily populated indicate they were preparing for a larger attack.
“The fact that they targeted the National Intelligence Agency reinforces the impression that the bomb was an urban terrorist bomb targeting a high value target in their own image rather than a car bomb which could be urbanized with a head of state” and could be reasonably expected to cause less damage, he said.
Barton said the number of reported deaths was particularly surprising because of the distance that it was “very difficult for … a suicide bomber to go from the scene of a car bomb to parliament.”
An Associated Press photographer saw two black-clad suicide bombers, believed to be male, detonate explosives in the center of Kampala around 5:15 p.m. Sunday, followed by a rush of terrified people running into central Kampala.
“I was praying before I left my house, asking God to protect me,” Simon Lutwa, an employee of the National Intelligence Agency, told the AP. “The mosque I was praying at was immediately behind the security services headquarters.”
Shortly after that, another man carried out an apparent suicide bombing in the vicinity of the State House and Parliament buildings, a short distance away, according to AP. The man has not been identified.
Uganda has been on a high alert for terrorist attacks in the wake of twin car bombs that targeted Kinshasa, the capital of neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo, on Oct. 29. That attack killed at least 29 people. Security was tight after that attack and in preparation for Sunday’s attacks.