The leafy suburb of Muyenga in Uganda’s capitol city of Kampala is home to a scattering of charity head quarters and gated houses. It sits over 4,000 feet high above the congested bustling city centre.
It is in this suburb that I find myself, by chance, spending my first week in Kampala.
Walking up the hill from the crowded city centre you pass a row of lively looking pubs and restaurants all contributing to Kampala’s reputation as the “city that never sleeps”. It feels warm and welcoming.
Nestled within these pubs and clubs though is a reminder of the area’s recent past. The Ethiopian Village restaurant, stands as a physical reminder the atrocities that took place in the summer of 2010.
In 2010, Al Shaabab terrorists detonated a bomb in the closing minutes of the 2010 world cup final in the Ethiopian crowded restaurant. The explosion in the Ethiopian restaurant coincided with an explosion at the city’s rugby club. These attacks left 74 dead.
At the time Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rage of Al Shaabab said that they were “sending a message to Uganda and Burundi” that “If they do not take out their AMISOM troops from Somalia, blasts will continue”.
Ugandan currently supplies one of the largest numbers of troops to the on-going peace mission within Somalia.
Uganda has recently threatened to withdraw troops though after a UN report suggested they had been arming M23 rebels – a group that is lead by an ICC indicted warlord and has been accused of war crimes.
Here in the capital, the threat of Islamic terrorists is still talked about and still worried about. One Kampala resident said to me that the threat internally from the inter-tribal conflict in the north is not worried about in Kampala but that “Al Shaabab could strike at anytime, anywhere”.
Despite these concerns, there have been no comparable attacks in Kampala since the 2010 atrocities and Kampala enjoys the reputation as one of the safest capital cities in Africa.