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Uganda: Death toll rises in terror bombings

Somali rebel group Al Shabaab claims responsibility for deadly explosions

Uganda bombing victim
A Ugandan man injured in a terrorist explosion is carried into Mulago Hospital in Kampala July 12, 2010. Two separate explosions killed 64 people in the Ugandan capital Kampala to watch the World Cup final on Sunday night, police said. (Ronald Kabuubi/Reuters)

KAMPALA, Uganda — At least 74 people have been killed in the terror bombings here Sunday.

Al Shabaab, the Somali ally of Al Qaeda, have claimed responsibility for the deadly explosions, which targetted people watching the World Cup final Sunday night.

The explosions hit two different places where Ugandans, Americans and Europeans had gathered to watch the soccer. The death toll continues to rise.

Al Shabaab said the bombings were in retaliation for Ugandan troops serving as African Union peacekeepers in Somalia. Al Shabaab blames the peacekeeping force, made up mainly of forces from Uganda and Burundi, for keeping the transitional government in power.

One American has been confirmed among the dead in Uganda. Many more people are critically injured, awaiting treatment in Kampala’s hospitals.

Kampala police have so far confirmed 15 dead where the first bomb exploded, Ethiopian Village Restaurant in Kabalagala — a suburb near the American embassy and popular with American and European residents. At least a half dozen Americans were reported to be in the restaurant, watching the World Cup match with Ugandans and others when the bomb went off at about 10:30 p.m. Ugandan time.

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The second and third explosions occurred about 30 minutes later at the Kyadondo Rugby Club during a screening of the World Cup final game. More than 50 people were killed in those explosions, according to police.

Isaac Kuddzu was at the rugby club watching the soccer game on large screens.

“About three minutes before the end of the match I got a phone call, I was sitting in the front row viewing the match. As I moved out of my seat to take the call a blast went off. I was hit in the back and thought that I had been shot, so I hit the ground.

"When I did people started to stand up, thinking it was some electrical explosion. As they stood up the second blast went off and people started running. I got up and started to run, I knew I had to escape for my life,” said Kuddzu, a 28-year-old deejay with a local radio station, Vision Voice - a co-sponsor of the screening at the rugby club. Kuddzu was bruised by a piece of flying schrapnel.

“As we ran, we were jumping over people, but didn’t know at the time that they were dead,” said Kuddzu. Speculation is that nearly 20 were killed at the rugby club but Kuddzu said he thinks it is more than that.

His opinion is supported by gruesome video and photos that are being shown on Ugandan television of severed heads, body parts, bloody bodies at the scene at the popular rugby club.

So far no group has claimed responsibility for the terror attacks.

However, police have not ruled out speculation that Al Shabaab — the Somali rebels with links to Al Qaeda — could be responsible for the attacks. Al Shabaab has warned that it will strike at Uganda because Ugandan troops are a major part of the peacekeeping force in Somalia. Al Shabaab is listed as a terrorist organization by the U.S. and has been reported to be "Al Qaeda in Somalia."