A dozen suspects have appeared in a Ugandan court to face charges, including murder and terrorism, amid what local officials say is the budding threat of Islamic here.

Police spokesman Fred Enanga said Thursday the suspects were "using religion to recruit people" into an armed group. At least six of the suspects are also face murder charges for their alleged roles in the violent deaths of two rival clerics late last year.

At a pre-trial hearing in the capital, Kampala, suspects' supporters raised clenched fists amid chants of "God is great." They demanded the immediate release of the suspects.

Ugandan authorities believe that two Muslim clerics killed in December were targeted by radical colleagues with alleged ties to the Allied Democratic Forces, a Congo-based Islamic extremist group.