Former Raleigh man dies in Uganda bombings

From staff and wire reportsJuly 12, 2010 

An undated photo provided by Invisible Children shows Nate Henn, who was killed in Uganda on Sunday. He died when simultaneous explosions tore through crowds watching the World Cup final at a rugby club and an Ethiopian restaurant.


— An American who recently lived in Raleigh for a year was the lone American killed when explosions tore through crowds watching the World Cup final Sunday at a rugby club and an Ethiopian restaurant in Kampala, Uganda, killing at least 74 people.

Nathan Henn, 25, who worked with Invisible Children, a San Diego-based aid group that helps child soldiers in Africa, was killed on the rugby field. Henn was a native of Wilmington, Del., but his family moved to Raleigh in 2007, and he lived here for about a year, his sister, Brynne Henn, said this morning in a telephone interview.

"Nathan was an amazing guy," said Brynne Henn, 20. "He lived his life for others and for his God.

"For the last year and a half he worked tirelessly to end the war in northern Uganda."

Invisible Children, according to its website, makes documentaries about children affected by war in East Africa and shows them around the world, with the goal of "mobilizing a generation to capture the attention of the international community, and make a stand for justice in the wake of genocide." Nathan Henn, among his activities with the group, organized the world tours.

According to the group, Henn went to Uganda to see the homeland of some of the friends he met on tour, several of whom were with him on Sunday at the rugby club. They had given him the nickname "Oteka," an Acholi word meaning "The Strong One," and he had adopted the name on his Facebook page.

"From traveling the United States without pay advocating for the freedom of abducted child soldiers in Joseph Kony's war, to raising thousands of dollars to put war-affected Ugandan students in school, Nate lived a life that demanded explanation," the group said in a statement on its website. "He sacrificed his comfort to live in the humble service of God and of a better world, and his is a life to be emulated."

Kony heads the Lord's Resistance Army, which has waged one of Africa's longest and most brutal rebellions, in northern Uganda.

Arrangements for Henn are incomplete, but his sister asked that those who want to pay tribute to him make a contribution to Invisible Children at the organization's website.

Meanwhile, an al-Qaida-linked Somali militant group said it was behind the attacks, and Uganda's president declared today that "we shall get them wherever they are."

"We will carry out attacks against our enemy wherever they are," said Sheik Ali Mohamud Rage, a militant spokesman in Mogadishu. "No one will deter us from performing our Islamic duty.

The blasts came two days after a commander with the Somali group, al-Shabab, called for militants to attack sites in Uganda and Burundi, two nations that contribute troops to the African Union peacekeeping force in Somalia.

Sheik Yusuf Sheik Issa, an al-Shabab commander, told The Associated Press early Monday that he was happy with the attacks in Uganda.

"Uganda is one of our enemies. Whatever makes them cry, makes us happy. May Allah's anger be upon those who are against us," Sheik said.

Police said Ethiopian, Indian and Congolese nationals were also among those killed and wounded, police said.

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