Two explosions in the heart of Kampala killed two people and sent parliamentarians rushing for cover as cars burst into flames, witnesses and media reported on the latest in a string of bombings over the past month.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility. The al Qaeda-linked Somali insurgent group al Shabaab carried out deadly attacks in Uganda. Last month another group, the Islamic State-aligned Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), claimed its first attack in Uganda.
The explosions – one close to parliament and one near the central police station – sent bloodied office workers scrambling for cover over broken glass as a plume of white smoke rose above the downtown area.
“A booming sound like a big gun went off. The ground shook, my ears nearly went deaf,” Peter Olupot, a 28-year-old bank guard who was near the attack, told Reuters. “I saw a vehicle on fire and everyone was running and panicking. I saw a boda boda (motorcycle) man – his head was smashed and covered in blood.”
A Reuters witness saw burned cars behind a police cordon at the scene and a reporter with local television station NTV Uganda said he saw two bodies in the street.
Mulaago Hospital was treating 24 blast victims, four in critical condition, Emmanuel Ainebyoona, a spokesperson for the health ministry, said on Twitter.
A Ugandan military spokesperson, Brigadier Flavia Byekwaso, told Reuters there were “multiple” blasts and “multiple” casualties but declined to give further details.
Irene Nakasiita, spokesperson at Uganda Red Cross, said they would release information about the blasts later. Ugandan police did not respond immediately to requests for comment.
Ugandan soldiers are fighting al Shabaab in Somalia as part of an U.N.-backed African Union peacekeeping force. Al Shabaab’s bombings in Uganda include a 2010 attack that killed 70 people watching the World Cup.