September 25, 2014 / 8:11 AM / 3 years ago

Suspected Islamist militants charged in Ugandan court

KAMPALA (Reuters) - Ten suspected members of Somalia's Islamist group al Shabaab were charged in a Ugandan court with terrorism-related crimes after authorities said they had thwarted an attack by the group, police said on Thursday.

Uganda said on Sept. 13 it had raided an al Shabaab cell and arrested nearly two dozen suspects who were planning attacks in the capital Kampala. Police said a substantial amount of explosives and suicide vests were seized.

The Somali group denied its operatives were involved, although it carried out attacks in Kampala in 2010 that killed scores of fans watching a soccer matches at sports bars and has vowed more attacks to punish Uganda for sending troops to Somalia.

The suspects where charged in court late on Wednesday with "aiding and abetting terrorism" and "belonging to a terrorist organization", police spokesman Fred Enanga told Reuters, adding eight of them were Somalis and two were Kenyans.

"In total we had 21 suspects in custody but yesterday only 10 were taken to court and charged," he said. "There are so many lines of inquiries we're still pursuing on those remaining and even on those who were charged."

The suspects appeared in a magistrate's court where their charges were read. They did not enter a plea because their cases can only proceed in the high court.

Uganda has had troops in Somalia for years, where they are fighting with other forces deployed with the African Union mission AMISOM. The African troops and Somali army launched a new offensive earlier this year against al Shabaab strongholds.

Reporting by Elias Biryabarema; Editing by Edmund Blair and Dominic Evans

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