Uganda ups security, says al Shabaab group behind U.S. warning

By Elias Biryabarema

KAMPALA (Reuters) - Uganda has bolstered Security (SECURITY.8)at key locations because of fears Somalia's Islamist al Shabaab insurgents are planning an attack following warnings from the United States, officials said.

The U.S. Embassy in Kampala said on Wednesday it had information of "possible terrorist threats" to locations frequented by Westerners in Kampala, the capital of the east African nation.

The alert did not name any group, but Uganda's military spokesman, Paddy Ankunda, told Reuters on Thursday that the threat came from al Qaeda-allied al Shabaab.

"They have always made plots against Uganda," Ankunda said. "We're always on the alert and we'll keep defeating their plot."

A Ugandan police spokesperson, Patrick Onyango, said security had been boosted at high risk locations. The U.S. embassy has said it is cancelling some non-essential events due to take place at local hotels in the coming days.

Uganda is a close ally of the United States in East Africa and its soldiers form the backbone of an African Union peace keeping force battling al Shabaab in Somalia.

Ugandan security authorities and the U.S. embassy have issued similar alerts since 2010, when al Shabaab bombed sports bars in Kampala where people were watching soccer's World Cup on television, killing 79.

Al Shabaab also attacked a shopping mall in 2013 in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, killing 67.

(Editing by George Obulutsa and Crispian Balmer)