East African defence ministers and army chiefs talk terrorism in Uganda
KAMPALA (AFP) Nov 21, 2003
East African defence ministers and army chiefs met here Friday to discuss fighting terrorism and boosting military cooperation.

"Terrorism is one of the items high on the agenda of the meeting and how east African resources could be put in place to create security," said Uganda's Military Intelligence Chief Colonel Nobel Mayombo

"The meeting will assess the three countries' readiness to defence challenges and increase information-sharing including issue on training," he told reporters at Kampala's Munyonyo resort on the shores of Lake Victoria.

Thursday's deadly bomb attacks in Istanbul, Turkey, presented east African states with new challenges, but also gave them the opportunity to be more vigilant, added Mayombo.

"As for Uganda ... we also have targets that have to be protected," he said, without naming the targets. Uganda had some countries in its neighbourhood "who are incubators of terrorism," he added, but did not name them.

Kenya has twice been the target of attacks in the past five years.

The US embassy in Nairobi was bombed in 1998 killing 213 people, including 12 Americans.

A near-simultaneous attack on the US embassy in Dar es Salaam also killed 11 Tanzanians. Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network claimed responsibility for the two attacks.

An Israeli-owned hotel in Mombasa was bombed a year ago, leaving 18 dead, and attackers nearly shot down an Israeli passenger jet packed with tourists after it had just taken off from the port city's airport.

Those attacks were also claimed by al-Qaeda.

Among those present Friday in Kampala at the start of the two-day meeting were defence ministers Amama Mbabazi of Uganda, Kivutha Kibwana of Kenya and Tanzania's Philemon Sarungi, along with their army heads and other senior military officials.