KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — Ugandan authorities on Wednesday charged 10 suspects of Somali origin with terror-related offenses following their arrest in a raid on a suspected al-Shabab cell in this East African country.
The terror suspects — including two women — appeared in a court in the Ugandan capital of Kampala, charged with belonging to a terrorist group as well as aiding terror activities. Nine of them are Somali nationals and one is Kenyan.
Prosecutors say the suspects belong to the al-Qaida-linked Somali militant group al-Shabab, which in 2010 claimed responsibility for bomb attacks that killed at least 76 people watching a soccer World Cup final on giant screens in Kampala. They are accused of being active members of al-Shabab since 2010.
Uganda, which has troops fighting al-Shabab in Somalia, has been on alert amid concerns al-Shabab is plotting an attack similar to the deadly assault on a mall in Kenya a year ago.
Uganda's security forces on Sept. 13 raided at least two locations deep inside a Kampala slum, saying the operation was to bust an al-Shabab cell that plotted attacks in Kampala. Following the operation, the U.S. Embassy in Uganda, which had urged U.S. citizens to stay indoors while the operation unfolded, reported that a terror attack had been disrupted.
Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Sierra Leone have deployed troops to Somalia as part of an African Union force bolstering the country's weak government against al-Shabab's insurgency. The African Union troops pushed al-Shabab out of the capital, Mogadishu, in 2011. A similar offensive is under way to oust the militants from their remaining strongholds in southern Somalia, where a U.S. airstrike killed al-Shabab's former spiritual leader earlier this month.