Uganda Bombings Kill World Cup Watchers, American Aid Worker

Suzanne Murray

nate henn uganda bombingsMore than 70 people were killed, and about 70 more were injured, in separate bomb explosions that ripped through Uganda Sunday afternoon as fans watched the final match of World Cup soccer at a rugby club and an Ethiopian restaurant in the country's capital of Kampala.

The synchronized bomb blasts also took the life of American Nate Henn, a native of Raleigh, North Carolina, and aid worker for the organization Invisible Children, a group that helps child soldiers.

The Invisible Children site posted a tribute to Nate today:

"Nate worked with us at Invisible Children for a year and a half and leaves behind a legacy of honor, integrity, and service. From traveling the United States without pay advocating for the freedom of abducted child soldiers in Joseph Kony’s war, to raising thousands of dollars to put war-affected Ugandan students in school, Nate lived a life that demanded explanation. He sacrificed his comfort to live in the humble service of God and of a better world, and his is a life to be emulated.

"Nate was determined to go to Uganda and see the homeland of the friends he had made on tour. His love for the Ugandan students he had worked with is exemplified by the deep friendships he forged with them. He was not serving some idea of down-trodden Africa. He was serving Innocent, Tony, Boni, Ronald, Papito, Sunday, and Lilian. These are some of our Ugandan students who fell in love with Nate’s wit, strength, character, and steadfast friendship. They gave him the Acholi name 'Oteka,' which means 'The Strong One.' Some of them were with him at the time of the attack."

According to The New York Times, Ugandan police officials suspect that the Shabab, a militant Islamic group in nearby Somalia with links to Al Qaeda, might have been behind the bombings. Suspects also include former rebels in the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Sheik Yusuf Sheik Issa, a Shabab commander in Somalia, told the Associated Press he was happy with the attacks: “Uganda is one of our enemies,” he said. “Whatever makes them cry, makes us happy. May Allah’s anger be upon those who are against us.”

White House spokesman, Tommy Vietor, said the United States will provide assistance to Uganda. "The president is deeply saddened by the loss of life resulting from these deplorable and cowardly attacks, and sends his condolences to the people of Uganda and the loved ones of those who have been killed or injured."

In a Facebook status update Nate Henn made just before his trip to Uganda, he wrote, "Thank you for helping me achieve my dream of getting to Uganda."



Image via Invisible Children

Read More