A planned attack by Somali militant Islamist terror group al-Qaeda linked al-Shabaab was foiled by the Ugandan government. The U.S. Embassy in Uganda said Saturday that Ugandan authorities were responsible for stopping an imminent terrorist attack, according to a report from Voice of America.
The target of the attack was not immediately known. Al-Shabaab has vowed publicly to take revenge for the death of its leader, Ahmed Godane, in a U.S. airstrike in Somalia earlier this month. The group also said they were responsible for the attack on the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya last year. Sixty-seven people were killed in that attack.
Al-Shabaab also bombed a sports bar in 2010, during a World Cup game on television.
The United States embassy in Uganda said, in statements on Twitter and its website, that their forces had carried out operations against members of al-Shabaab in Uganda’s capital, Kampala.
“We are continuing our engagement with Ugandan authorities as we seek to assess the scope of the disrupted al-Shabaab terrorist plot and whether there are members of the cell still at large.”
The embassy urged all U.S. citizens to continue to “shelter in place” through the evening hours.
Some arrests were made in connection to the threat, according to a police spokesperson.
The U.S. embassy said on Saturday that specific targets were not clear, according to Al Jazeera.
“At this point we are not aware of specific targets, and the Ugandan authorities have increased security at key sites, including Entebbe international airport,” the embassy said in a statement. “All U.S. citizens are advised to stay at home or proceed to a safe location. Shelter-in-place and await further guidance.”
The U.S. embassy is telling American citizens in Uganda that possible targets of an al-Shabaab attack could by any number of public places. The embassy said an attack could include “hotels, restaurants, nightclubs, shopping malls, diplomatic missions, transportation hubs, religious institutions, government offices, or public transportation.”
Uganda would ostensibly be one of the countries to contribute forces toward an African Union Peacekeeping mission to battle al-Shabaab in Somalia. In the past, al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility for terrorist attacks blaming Uganda’s decision to send troops to Somalia as part of an African Union force. Foiling the most recently planned attack by al-Shabaab in Uganda is seen as a major victory by the Ugandan government.