MOGADISHU, Somalia — The Islamic State group said Friday it carried out twin suicide bombings in Uganda in which 39 people were killed.
The militant group’s Amaq news agency cited the bomber who detonated himself among the mourners at a mosque in Uganda’s capital, Kampala, on Thursday. It said the attack was meant to “spread terror to the Muslims” and blamed the “crusader coalition” that has been fighting the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq.
The Ugandan police chief, Gen. Kale Kayihura, blamed IS for the attacks that occurred in the heart of Kampala near the offices of Uganda’s biggest media conglomerate. He said a police officer also was killed in the second attack, and that police who apprehended the suspect found explosives.
Two suicide bombers targeted a crowded park in front of the Parliament building in Nairobi, Kenya, killing more than 700 people in April, the deadliest ever such attack in Africa.
Also Friday, a bomb exploded at a border checkpoint in Yemen’s port city of Aden, injuring 10 soldiers, Yemeni security officials said. The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media, said the explosion occurred shortly after the checkpoint guards stopped a vehicle suspected of carrying al-Qaida and Islamic State militants.
The U.S. Africa Command said it was aware of the reports and was working to gather information.
In late September, the terror group’s Aamaq news agency announced the militant group’s presence in Somalia and said its fighters had captured the city of Barawe. But Somalia’s government has denied the report.
Somalia’s al-Shabab extremist group, which has been carrying out increasingly deadly attacks in Somalia and Kenya and is linked to the Islamic State group, has used African Union peacekeepers as a stepping stone to expanding its reach in Somalia and has trained and equipped more than 1,000 fighters, according to military analysts.
Uganda has sent troops to Somalia to fight al-Shabab and as part of an African Union mission, which has been instrumental in helping defeat the extremist group. Many in the region see the Ugandan troops as the most reliable source of security in Somalia, experts say.
The Islamic State group rose from the chaos of the early 1990s civil war in Iraq and emerged to control a stretch of land in Syria and Iraq in 2014 before being driven out of its strongholds by government forces and in retreat. The group has adopted a series of military tactics, including suicide bombings, aimed at seizing territory and purging other religions.