KAMPALA-UGANDA/NEWSDAY: President Yoweri Museveni has announced 54 as the number of Ugandan soldiers killed after al shabaab terror group overran a base housing African Union peacekeepers in Somalia.
In a statement on Saturday, a week after al-Shabab fighters stormed the base in Bulamarer, 130 kilometres (80 miles) southwest of the Somali capital, Mogadishu, Museveni said his forces had recaptured the base and foiled another attempted attack by Al Shabaab in Baraawe Town.
“Our soldiers demonstrated remarkable resilience and reorganised themselves, resulting in the recapture of the base by Tuesday,” the president said.
Al Shabaab, an affiliate of al-Qaeda had claimed it had killed 137 soldiers after the use of suicide bombers and gun fire.
Al-Shabab has been fighting since 2006 to replace Somalia’s Western-backed government with its own rule based on a strict interpretation of Islamic law. UPDF was the first African Army to send forces in Somalia.
Last August, an intensive government offensive began after the election victory of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and has made significant scores in eroding the group’s control of vast swathes of Somali land.
But al-Shabab is still capable of launching significant attacks on government, commercial and military targets.
It also intermittently launches attacks in neighbouring Kenya as part of reprisals for Nairobi sending troops to support Mogadishu’s rebel pushback.
Museveni also named two commanders, Maj. Oluka and Maj. Obbo, who ordered the soldiers to retreat.
“They have been apprehended and will face charges in the Court Martial,” Museveni said.
In his first statement about the attack last week, Museveni blamed corruption as cause of mistakes in Somalia where some commanders send ill trained soldiers.
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