Bin Laden -- said Al-Shabab attackers were to have planned Gen. Museveni assassination according to U.S. documents
The Al-Shabab team that launched a terrorist attack in Kampala in 2010 was supposed to have planned the assassination of the country's long-time dictator, Gen. Yoweri Museveni, Osama bin Laden said, in a letter attributed to him, released Wednesday by the U.S. government.
"As a comment on the Uganda operation, they were supposed to arrange a good plan for assassinating the President of Uganda, (Museveni), for this can affect the war there," bin Laden wrote to an associate, in a letter dated August 7, 2010 (doc: Letter dtd 07 August 2010 on ODNI website). "However, if they cannot, they should target vital military and economic targets."
The "war" he referred to was the battle in Somalia between Al-Shabab, which is allied with Al-Q'aeda, and the U.S.-supported Somalia government in Mogadishu, the capital. Uganda provides the bulk of the African peace-keeping troops which has sustained the government in Mogadishu.
In the letter, bin Laden was apparently referring to twin-attacks July 11, 2010 on popular restaurants in Kampala, at a period when the establishments were filled with patrons watching the soccer World Cup which was being televised from South Africa, the host country that year.
At least 74 people died in the attacks and about 70 or more injured.
In a separate letter Al-Qaeda operatives claimed Gen. Museveni would exploit the Al-Shabab attacks in Kampala to boost his chances in Uganda's presidential election the next year, in February 2011.
The letters are part of a collection of more than 100 documents the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence released this week. More documents captured from bin Laden's compound when U.S. Special Forces mounted a raid and killed him in Abbottabad, Pakistan, on May 2, 2011, will be released in the coming months, according to U.S. officials.
In the same August 7, 2010 letter, bin Laden warns al-Shabab fighters to try and minimize civilian casualties by avoiding attacks on the headquarters of African peacekeepers, including those from Uganda. "Please talk to the Somali brothers about reducing the harm to Muslims at Bakarah Market as result of attacking the headquarters of the African forces," bin Laden wrote, according to the letter released by the U.S. "Instead, they should focus on attacking them on their way to and from the airport."
Bin Laden, who in other documents even offered advice that included the digging of trenches during combat, said there certain conditions under which attacks on the headquarters of the African peace keeping forces could be effective. "They should not carry out operations against their headquarters unless these are large, special operations or through digging tunnels that will allow them to reach the heart of the camp. Please study the matter and let me know," bin Laden wrote, according to the letter.
Another document the U.S. says was also captured during the raid that killed bin Laden is attributed to bin Laden associates, and appeared under the title "Study Paper About The Kampala Raid In Uganda;" (doc: Study Paper About the Kampala Raid In Uganda on ODNI website) an assessment of the July 2010 terrorist attacks on Kampala.
The document is said to have been written on August 11, 2010; it claimed that as a result of the attacks, other African countries, including Botswana and South Africa, had become reluctant to provide soldiers as peace keepers in Somalia.
The attack had also unnerved investors who were eyeing Uganda, where the oil industry is emerging, the document also claimed. As a result of the attacks on Kampala "worry has spread among the Western and Chinese investors equally, especially that Uganda and Kenya have borders that can be infiltrated with Somalia, and all the investors are looking warily to Uganda," the document asserted, stating that the Ugandan shilling had also fallen against the dollar.
Opposition groups and the public in Uganda had also increased demands that Ugandan troops be withdrawn from Somalia, the document said. President Museveni, because of the attacks, also "found a chance for himself to hang onto the ruling chair, with the excuse of effecting revenge from Al-Shabaab movement and protecting security in Uganda, especially with the future of the oil that the Ugandans have been promised, which the analysts consider an important goal for Museveni; maybe he will not give it up by all possible means, which he actually started working on, like amassing the popular support and bringing forward what they call the extremists as a common enemy."
The attacks in Uganda also meant more scrutiny on events inside Somalia and human rights organizations had also started talking about atrocities against Somali civilians by Ugandan soldiers, the document claimed. "The matter drew the attention of the politicians of the White House, who asked the Ugandans fordiscipline; and the transitional government to act so that they did not lose their already weak forces," the document claimed.
The attack had also increased pressure on the government in Burundi, which also had peace keeping troops in Somalia, and "where the academics hurried to attack the government for its erroneous politics, and the voices became loud about the integrity of that government. "
"Security procedures doubled in Uganda, Burundi, Kenya, and Ethiopia, and fears in the other IGAD countries," as a result of the attacks, the document asserted.
IGAD, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) is a regional organization of eight African countries.
First published by BlackStar News on May 21, 2015