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Uganda: Security ramped up after bombs

Nation on high alert ahead of summit for African leaders.

Ugandan bombing site
Ugandan police inspect the destroyed Ethiopian Village restaurant in Kampala after a bomb attack during the World Cup. (Trevor Snapp/GlobalPost)

KAMPALA, Uganda — Uganda is increasing security in the wake of the terrorist bombings that killed 74 people Sunday.

President Yoweri Museveni's government is on high alert, especially because it is hosting the African Union summit which is expected to bring dozens of heads of state to Kampala July 25.

"We are on full alert. We have tightened security and screening all persons entering into the country ... Everybody must be vigilant and conscious about their surrounding at all times, especially to identify strange and suspicious people, abandoned items or packages," said police spokesperson Judith Nabakooba.

In an address to the nation, President Museveni angrily vowed, "We shall deal with the authors of this crime. They have exposed themselves; we have got a lot of information on them that we did not have before.

"Those who argue that the best way to avoid trouble is to surrender Africa to terrorists from the Middle East are wrong," he added. "These people have invited a lot of anger from the world, I can assure you they have invited a lot of problem to themselves."

Most of those killed in the bombings are Ugandan but also an American, Ethiopians, Eritreans, a Congolese, an Irish woman, a Kenyan and a Sri Lankan.

One survivor was found after spending 10 hours in a mortuary.

Security has been increased at Uganda’s international airport and at all border entry points, according to police. There are also increased police patrols in Kampala, the capital.

The FBI, British forensics experts and Interpol have arrived in Uganda, following U.S. President Barack Obama’s promise to send help and aid. The FBI has already taken body parts of suspects to begin work on identifying them.

So far, Kampala police have arrested 7 suspects, including a Ugandan man, Ali Issa Sekumba, who was handed over by Kenyan authorities in joint anti-terror efforts by the two east African neighbors.

At a recent press conference, Ugandan police referred to a Ugandan rebel group, Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), which might have been involved or worked with Al Shabaab, the Somali Islamist group that claimed responsibility for the attacks, in orchestrating and carrying out the bombings.

The group denied involvement, though they are reported to have been involved in grenade attacks in Uganda in the 1990s.