European security experts fear al-Qaeda wings expanded to Uganda

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London, Sept 21 (ANI): There seems to be a growing concern in the western world, especially after the arrest of a British man on terrorism charges on his way to Entebbe, that al-Qaeda may have expanded its East African operations into Uganda.

According to The Telegraph, western security sources have claimed that attacks on football fans watching the World Cup final in Kampala (Uganda) this year had been carried out by "Al-Qaeda in East Africa," and not the Somali group al-Shabaab, which claimed responsibility.

Recently, US officials had warned of an increase of al-Qaeda activity in East Africa where militants have been helping train al-Shabaab fighters.

Al-Shabaab has reportedly claimed allegiance to al-Qaeda, but its ability to launch attacks outside the country had been limited until the Kampala attacks in July.

Meanwhile, a European diplomat in Kampala said the Britisher who was arrested in Amsterdam could have been acting as a copycat after the publicity following the Ugandan attack, which was blamed on the presence of Ugandan troops in Somalia under an African Union peace keeping mandate, the paper said.

"The problem with something like the World Cup bombings is that it puts Uganda on the map of copycat attackers, who might not even really have known Uganda was involved [in Somalia] before. This man could have been coming here to cause a nuisance, rather than because militants in Mogadishu were controlling him," the diplomat said.

A security consultant specialising on Somalia said there was the "sense that the World Cup bombings were going to be a one-off, and al-Shabaab sent those guys here from Somalia."

He further stated that although there is no evidence yet that al-Shabaab is bedding down cells in Uganda for more attacks, it does not mean that they are not doing it. (ANI)

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