On Thursday, it marked nine years since the 2010 World Cup final celebrations turned bloody following twin bomb blasts in Kampala.
On the fateful day, as revelers were watching Spain beat Netherlands in the World Cup finals, twin blasts went off at the same time at Kyadondo Rugby grounds in Lugogo and Ethiopian village restaurant in Kabalagala killed more than 70 people.
Nine years later, the day passed unnoticed by many and at the scene of the horror incident, there was nothing to show.
However, one man, Francis Tucungwirwe, a survivor of the horror used the nine year celebrations to release a book narrating how he almost died.
“I was with a friend who had just bought a new car and he asked that we go watch together the finals at Kyadondo,”Tucungwirwe starts the conversation.
“Less than a kilometer away from the venue, the car developed a flat tyre and because none of us knew how to change it, we spent more than two hours. By the time we were done with fixing it, we were frustrated and decided to return home where we watched the match from.”
The community and global positive change practioner says the glitch on their car’s tyre was their miraculous savior.
Following the attack, five people were sentenced to life imprisonment for masterminding the deadly twin blasts in Kampala whereas two others were found guilty of terrorism and sentenced to 50 years imprisonment.
Idris Nsubuga, currently serving a sentence over the attack told court that on the fateful day, he was part of the group of two together with a man of Somali origin only identified as Murta(Somali) that was tasked with detonating the bombs at Lugogo.
“It was not easy proceeding to the side where the screens and many revelers were because of police men at the entrance where one had to pay Shs5000 before being allowed. My colleague seemed impatient and a bit angry for time was going and we were not entering,”Nsubuga told court in 2015 during the trial.
“Chance availed itself as a scuffle ensued and we then paid and entered as policemen were busy trying to calm the situation. My colleague entered first leaving me out before I followed him.”
Nsubuga told court that at this time they moved around the place before departing for their respective mission after setting their watches.
“I gave him thumbs up and said Salama and he replied. We then parted.I went to the entrance as I talked to the askari waiting for the agreed time to come but all this time I was panicking. At 11:15 pm, there was a blast but people around thought it was a transformer. I then detonated my bomb and saw people scampering for their dear lives. I jumped onto a boda boda and took off up to the old taxi park where I got a taxi up to my home.”
According to Bernard Tagoya, a police officer who was at scene said with three minutes to the end of the game, the blasts went off.
“There was a nasty smell plus blood smelling all over the place. I took cover and I immediately smelt gun powder. I then realized it was a bomb and I told people to go down,”Tagoya told court.
“There were screams everywhere with many people still down in their seats and I thought they were still alive. I moved in to see if they were still breathing because the blast was too heavy that it could not leave a normal human being seated. I tried to touch them but over 10 of them were motionless.”
He said he was shocked by what he saw when he flashed his phone’s torch on the ground.
“I saw blood and flesh scattered around the whole area. When I moved towards where the blast had taken off from I found a left palm on one side, the head and legs on the other side,” the police officer narrated, adding that he later helped carry over 50 survivors to the ambulance.
Al Quaeda affiliated Somali based Al Shabaab militants claimed responsibility for the attack as a “punishment” to Uganda for sending its troops to Somalia under the AMISOM.
Meeting with 9/11 victims
In his book, Tucungwirwe highlights the menace caused by terrorism around the world right from Al Quaeda, Al Shabaab and currently ISIS but also takes a fictional look at a meeting between the masterminds of the attacks and their victims at the Rutangaaza conference.
“In the book, I imagine Osama Bin Laden, the man who started all this, meeting the victims of all the terror attacks masterminded by either him or groups affiliated to him at the Rutangaaza conference,”Tucungwirwe says.
“I keep asking myself whether he(Bin Laden) would have the same view on the people he killed as before and what would happen during their meeting at the Rutangaaza Conference organised by a man, one of whose grandchildren was killed in terror attacks.”
He says the book that goes for shs60,000 at Aristoc and Jumia can also be acquired at Amazon at 20 dollars.