Posted: Jul 12, 2010 12:49 PM
Updated: Jul 12, 2010 1:37 PM
Source: Associated Press
East Africa saw the emergence of a new international terrorist group Monday, as Somalia's most dangerous al-Qaida-linked militia claimed responsibility for the twin bombings in Uganda that killed 74 people during the World Cup.
The claim by al-Shabab, whose fighters are trained by militant veterans of the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, resets the security equation in East Africa and has broader implications
The group in the past has recruited Somali-Americans to carry out suicide bombings in Mogadishu.
Al-Shabab has long threatened to attack outside of Somalia's borders, but the bombings late Sunday are the first time the group has done so.
"We warned Uganda not to deploy troops to Somalia, they ignored us," said Sheik Ali Mohamud Rage, al-Shabab's spokesman. "We warned them to stop massacring our people, and they ignored that.
The explosions in Kampala were only a minor message to them. ... We will target them everywhere if Uganda does not withdraw from our land."
Rage said a second country with peacekeeping forces in Mogadishu - Burundi - could soon face attacks.
Fighting in Mogadishu between militants and Somali troops or African Union peacekeepers frequently kills civilians.
The attacks outside Somalia represent a dangerous new step in al-Shabab's increasingly militant path and raises questions about its future plans.
The U.S. State Department has declared al-Shabab a terrorist organization.