Uganda will not pull troops from Somalia: minister

Ugandan police inspect the destroyed Ethiopian Village restaurant in Kampala after twin bomb blasts late on July 11, 2010 tore through crowds of football fans watching the World Cup final, killing 64 people, including an American, and wounding scores others. AFP PHOTO / TREVOR SNAPP

KAMPALA, July 12, 2010

Uganda will not pull out its troops from Somalia, whose hardline Islamist rebels it blamed for bomb attacks in Kampala that killed 64 people, Deputy Foreign Minister Okello Oryem told AFP Monday.

"These people are cowards and Ugandans are not cowards and we are not going to run away from Mogadishu just because of this cowardly act," he said.

Two bomb attacks targeted fans watching the World Cup final in two separate sites in the Ugandan capital late Sunday. President Yoweri Museveni condemned the attacks and pledged to go after the perpetrators.

Uganda and Burundi are the only African countries to have deployed troops to the African Union's Somalia peacekeeping force.

The hardline al Shabaab group last week called on Somalis to step up jihad against the peacekeepers protecting the fragile transitional government, blaming the troops for civilian deaths in Mogadishu.

A regional bloc pledged to send 2,000 more troops by September to boost the AU peace force strength to the envisaged 8,100 soldiers.