Uganda to give verdict on 2010 Shebab bombing suspects

Islamist fighters loyal to Somalia's Shebab group perform military drills at a village in Lower Shabelle region, outside Mogadishu (AFP Photo/Mustafa Abdi)

Islamist fighters loyal to Somalia’s Shebab group perform military drills at a village in Lower Shabelle region, outside Mogadishu (AFP Photo/Mustafa Abdi)<br />

A Ugandan court is due Thursday to give its verdict on 13 men tried for masterminding a 2010 bombing by the Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab that killed 76 people.

The July 2010 suicide bombings claimed by Somalia’s Shebab targeted football fans watching the World Cup final between the Netherlands and Spain at a restaurant and a rugby club in Kampala, and were the region’s worst attacks in more than a decade.

“There are 13 suspects and the judgement is expected to be delivered today,” judiciary spokesman Solomon Muyita told AFP Thursday.

All have pleaded not guilty.

Judge Alfonse Owiny-Dollo is expected to deliver his verdict at the High Court in Kampala, and could apply the death sentence if the men are found guilty.

“It has been a long trial, but all will come to end today when the judgement will be delivered,” Muyita said.

The suspects have been tried on a range of charges including terrorism, murder and membership of a terrorist organisation.

Two men were already found in guilty in 2011 for their role in the attacks.

Edris Nsubuga, who admitted terrorism charges, was spared the death penalty because he expressed contrition over the carnage and was jailed for 25 years. Co-accused Muhamoud Mugisha received five years for conspiracy to commit terrorism.

The Kampala trial was delayed after the lead prosecutor was murdered in March 2015. Joan Kagezi, acting assistant director of public prosecution, was shot dead by men on a motorbike as she drove home with three of her children.

Al-Shebab continues to target countries in the region, carrying out the 2013 assault on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi that killed at least 67 people, and the attack on Kenya’s Garissa university in April 2015, killing at least 148 people.

Thousands of Ugandan troops form the backbone of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), the UN-backed force established to fight the Shebab Islamists and protect the internationally recognised government.

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