Uganda bombings: Why the world should care

(CNN) — Suspicion was growing Monday that a Somali militant group trying to overthrow the U.N.-backed transitional government in that country was to blame for attacks that killed dozens of people in Uganda.

Analyst Alex Vines, from London-based think tank Chatham House, told CNN that if Al-Shabaab did carry out the attacks there could be global implications as countries and businesses vie for opportunities across Africa.

Why is Uganda important?

Vines: Historically it’s been important for the export of coffee and fish out of Lake Victoria, but now oil has been found, Uganda could become a significant, if not major, oil exporter. So there’s much international interest, and not just western. The deal that’s been struck with Tullow Oil looks as if it’ll be farmed out to the French company Total and the Chinese state oil company CNOOC. So these attacks in Uganda could have global implications for business, be they Chinese or Western.

Will they deter investors?

Vines: I think investors will do a stricter risk assessment and practice due diligence. They will look at where they think it’s safe for their workers to go and advise them to be careful when socializing at night, but I don’t think it will stop investment at all.

Does Uganda have a history of violence?

Vines: Uganda has had a low-intensity conflict linked to the Lords Resistance Army (LRA), of Joseph Kony, but this has been much subdued in recent years. There have been recent acts of random terrorism in Kampala but nothing like that seen last night.

(United Nations humanitarian chief Jan Egeland has described the 20-year conflict in northern Uganda between government forces and the LRA as the most neglected humanitarian crisis in the world. Kony has said he wants to rule Uganda according to the Ten Commandments but the LRA campaign has been marked by brutality, including the abduction of many school children with girls forced to be sex slaves and boys pressed into the guerrilla army.)

To read more, visit: http://edition.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/africa/07/12/uganda.bombings.qanda/?fbid=vlB44mvlRdJ

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