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Schools closed in extremism probe

Five Islamic schools have been shut down in Uganda over allegations they are training students to become extremists, police have said.

The madrassas targeted for closure have been training children to become fighters in a rebel group opposed to Uganda's government, according to Patrick Onyango, a spokesman for police in the capital, Kampala.

He said: "They are brainwashing the children, training them to become recruits in a rebel group.

"The plan is that when they reach the right age they will be taken to become rebels."

Mr Onyango said three of the schools are located in Uganda's central region, while the other two are in the east.

Uganda's Daily Monitor newspaper reported that a senior Ugandan Muslim leader, Kassim Nakibinge, had criticised the police's actions, saying Islamic schools are being unfairly targeted by the authorities.

He reportedly accused the police of "hiding behind security to close our (madrassas)".

Local police link the madrassas to the Allied Democratic Forces, a Congo-based armed group whose fugitive Ugandan leader is wanted by Interpol over terror allegations.

Jamil Mukulu, who is widely believed to be hiding in eastern Congo, has also been sanctioned by the US over his alleged role in violence there.

Ugandan authorities have been warning of the growing threat of home-grown Islamic extremism that stems in part from the country's military involvement in Somalia, where Ugandan forces are part of an African Union force fighting al-Shabab extremists.

At least five Ugandans are currently on trial for their alleged roles in the July 2010 bombings in Kampala that killed more than 70 people who were watching the 2010 soccer World Cup final on TV.

Although responsibility for that attack was claimed by al-Shabab, Ugandan officials say some Ugandans were recruited to direct that attack.


From Belfast Telegraph