American Dies in Uganda Blasts as Terrorists Kill 74 World Cup Watchers
Published July 12, 2010
An American aid worker was killed and six members of a Pennsylvania church group seriously wounded as twin bombers tore through crowds watching the World Cup final at a party in Uganda’s capital Monday, killing at least 74 people.
Nate Henn, a Wilmington, De., native who was working with Uganda’s child soldiers, died in the blast in Kampala Monday while watching the soccer match at an outdoor rugby field.
Dozens were killed at the rugby club, where revelers had gathered to watch the final on a large TV screen set up outside. Well over a dozen more people died in a separate blast at an Ethiopian restaurant in Kampala.
Al-Shabab, an Al Qaeda-linked terrorist militia based in Somalia, is suspected in the bombings, which came just two days after one of the militant group’s commanders called for attacks in Uganda and Burundi.
Henn, 25, was remembered as a tireless and devoted activist by the California-based aid group Invisible Children, which sponsored his work in Uganda.
“From traveling the United States without pay advocating for the freedom of abducted child soldiers … to raising thousands of dollars to put war-affected Ugandan students in school, Nate lived a life that demanded explanation,” the group said in a statement on its website.
“He sacrificed his comfort to live in the humble service of God and of a better world, and his is a life to be emulated.”
Six missionaries from the Christ United Methodist Church in Selingsgrove, Pa., were injured in the blast: Lori Ssebulime, Emily and Joanne Kerstetter, Kris Sledge, and Pam and Thomas Kramer.
Five missionaries had stayed behind in Uganda to complete their mission work with with Ssebulime, who is married to a Ugandan, as their friends returned home just days ago.
The group arrived at the Ethiopian restaurant early to get good seats for the game, said Ssebulime, who told the AP that three Ugandans in the group were killed in the blast and described the scene of the attacks.
“Emily was rolling around in a pool of blood screaming,” said Ssebulime, who has helped bring in U.S. church groups since 2004. “Five minutes before it went off, Emily said she was going to cry so hard because she didn’t want to leave. She wanted to stay the rest of the summer here.”
Blood and pieces of flesh littered the floor among overturned chairs at the scenes of the blasts, which went off as people watched the game between Spain and the Netherlands.
“We were enjoying ourselves when a very noisy blast took place,” said Andrew Oketa, one of the hospitalized survivors. “I fell down and became unconscious. When I regained, I realized that I was in a hospital bed with a deep wound on my head.”
Five of the six American missionaries have been hospitalized, though none have sustained life-threatening injuries, representatives of their church told Fox News. Two are being evacuated to Kenya or South Africa for further treatment.
The attack would mark the first time al-Shabab has reached out beyond the borders of Somalia, where the militia has seized control of large swathes of territory and established a strict and brutal form of Islamic law in its wake.
Sheik Yusuf Sheik Issa, an al-Shabab commander, told The Associated Press early Monday that he was happy with the attacks in Uganda but refused to confirm or deny that al-Shabab was responsible.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemned the attack in a statement issued late Sunday night, offering condolences to victims of the attack and their families.
“At this tragic moment, the United States stands with Uganda. We have a long-standing, close friendship with the people and government of Uganda and will work with them to bring the perpetrators of this crime to justice,” she said