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Al-Shabab has links with al-Qaeda: US

The agenda of African terror group al-Shabab, which claimed responsibility for Sunday`s bomb blast in Ugandan is very similar to that of al-Qaeda.

Updated: Jul 14, 2010, 14:46 PM IST

Washington: The agenda of African terror
group al-Shabab, which claimed responsibility for Sunday`s
bomb blast in Ugandan capital Kampala that killed 76 people,
is very similar to that of al-Qaeda and there are links
between the two outfits, according to US officials.

"Al-Shabab is a group that is associated with al-Qaeda
and these links between their organisations have existed for
quite some time," a senior Obama Administration official said

"Its agenda is very similar to al-Qaeda`s agenda... It
has engaged in terrorist tactics inside of Somalia
extensively. It is responsible for the assassination of a
number of Somali peace activists, international aid workers,
numerous civil society figures, as well as journalists," the
unnamed official said.

The United States has dispatched a team of FBI officials
to assist Ugandan authorities in the investigation into the
deadly Kampala attack which took place during the football
world cup final in South Africa.

"One of the things that we want to make sure that we do
now is take stock of the recent developments and the attacks
in Kampala and to take a look and see what it is that we need
to do as a result of those attacks," the official said.

"In the first instance, what we`re trying to do is to
lend support to the Ugandan government, but also what we need
to do now is to look at the situation in Somalia and to
determine if this is a trend that al-Shabab is going to be on,
and to take all appropriate measures," he added.

The senior Administration official said there are a
number of US persons who have travelled to Somalia to join up
with al-Shabab, as well as with al-Qaeda. This is something
that the US is watching very closely.

"Al-Shabab also has denied the passage of humanitarian
assistance to a number of displaced individuals inside of
Somalia, by preventing access to certain areas and hijacking
humanitarian aid and assistance," he said.

Al-Shabab was designated a foreign terrorist group in
2008. The UN Security Council imposed sanctions on it earlier
this year.

"We have taken a number of steps against al-Shabab
including -- the President in April of this year issued an
executive order... that targets those who threaten peace and
stability in Somalia and those who interfere with humanitarian
assistance there," the official said.

"Al-Shabab has a domestic agenda inside of Somalia that
is a bloody one. It also has a terrorist agenda that now has
manifested itself outside of Somalia and other countries.
And this is something that we are going to work very closely
with regional governments to counter."