Uganda Vows to Catch Killers of al-Shabaab-Case Prosecutor

Uganda’s police vowed to catch the killers of Joan Kagezi, the lead prosecutor in the trial of 13 men accused of involvement in Islamist militant bombings in 2010 that left 76 people dead.

Kagezi, the acting assistant director of public prosecution, was shot dead at about 7:15 p.m. on Monday by assailants on a motorcycle as she stopped at a fruit stall near her home in a suburb of the capital, Kampala, police Inspector General Kale Kayihura said in a statement. Her three children accompanying her were unhurt.

Eyewitnesses gave “very useful information,” while Kagezi’s murder “should only serve to increase our resolve to hunt down and bring to justice all those elements bent on disturbing the security and development of our country,” Kayihura said.

Islamist militants al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for twin bombings in July 2010 that targeted people attending televised screenings of the soccer World Cup final in Kampala. The group, an affiliate of al-Qaeda that has been waging an insurgency in Somalia since 2006, said Uganda was a target because it had troops serving in the Africa Union peacekeeping mission in the Horn of Africa country.

Thirteen men are currently standing trial for the 2010 attacks, the Kampala-based New Vision newspaper reported. Their hearing was suspended on Tuesday because court officials were in a somber mood after Kagezi’s murder, judiciary spokesman Erias Kisawuzi said by phone. A new date for the case to recommence has yet to be announced.

‘Terrorist Threats’

Kagezi was also working with police in prosecuting suspects in a “recent spate” of “murders, robberies and terrorism” in Busoga region and Kampala, Kayihura said, without giving further details.

Last week the U.S. warned of possible “terrorist threats” to locations in Kampala where westerners gather, saying an attack may take place “soon.”

Such an attack “should be considered somewhat probable,” said Francois Conradie, a political analyst at NKC Independent Economists in Paarl, South Africa.

“While the security forces have been pro-active, and benefit from intelligence provided by foreign partners like the U.S., amateurish attacks like those in 2010 are nearly impossible to guard against,” Conradie said Tuesday in an e-mailed note.

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