A Kampala court has found a Ugandan man guilty of planning the bombings that targeted football fans watching the 2010 World Cup final. The al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab terror group claimed responsibility for the attack.
Judge Alfonse Owiny-Dollo handed down his verdict Thursday. He said during the trial one of the accused, Issa Luyima, had been shown to have played a key role in organizing the July 2010 suicide bombings of a restaurant and rugby club in Uganda's capital that killed 76 people.
"I find Issa Luyima guilty for the offense of terrorism of which he was charged, so I convict him," Owiny-Dollo told the court. Prosecutors said Luyima had trained with the Islamic extremist group al-Shabab in Somalia, where it is based.
A Kenyan man, Hussein Hassan Agade, was also convicted of terrorism. Both men could face the death penalty.
Eleven other suspects were also on trial and awaiting verdicts - four other Ugandans, six Kenyans, and one Tanzanian. They were facing multiple charges of terrorism, murder and belonging to a terror group. All of the suspects had pleaded not guilty.
The trial in Kampala was delayed after the lead prosecutor was murdered in March 2015. Joan Kagezi was assassinated by men on a motorbike as she was driving home.
In 2011, two men were found guilty for their roles in the attacks. Edris Nsubuga was jailed for for 25 years instead of facing the death penalty, after he admitted to terrorism charges and expressed regret over the bombings. Muhamoud Mugisha was handed a five-year sentence for conspiracy to commit terrorism.
The attacks, which occurred while soccer fans were gathered to watch the World Cup final between the Netherlands and Spain, were the worst to hit the region in more than a decade. Al-Shabab has since carried out other deadly attacks in the region, including the 2013 Westgate Mall attack in Nairobi that killed at least 67 people and the April 2015 attack on Garissa University in Kenya which killed at least 148 people.
Thousands of troops from Uganda play a key role in the UN-approved African Union force established to fight al-Shabab in Somalia, AMISOM.
se/sms (AFP, AP)