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“Condolences To The Country And The Families Of Those Who Died”- Museveni On Al-Shabaab Attack On UPDF In Somalia

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President Yoweri Museveni has broken his silence on the deadly attack that happened in Somalia in a place called Bulo-Mareer about 120km South East of the capital Mogadishu. Al-Shabaab militants ran over an African Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) base which is manned by UPDF soldiers at around 5:00am yesterday.

Reports indicate many fatalities were registered, several injured and some were captured alive by the terrorists. The Al-Shabaab militants would later release images of the attack and also shared pictures of Ugandan soldiers in UPDF uniform under their captivity.

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UPDF has since released a statement where it said the Commander Land Forces Lt Gen Kayanja Muhanga has since led a  team to Somalia on a fact- finding mission on what might have led this fatal attack that left scores of Ugandan soldiers dead.

The ATMIS headquarters in Somalia and the UPDF headquarters in Kampala all remain tight-lipped on the number of fatalities though the terrorists claimed they killed about 137 Ugandan soldiers.

President Museveni in a statement released last evening condoled with the families whose sons and daughters died in this attack that has sent shockwaves amongst the UPDF fraternity in Uganda and panic among relatives of those who went to Somalia.

“Condolences to the country and the families of those who died. This unfortunate incident should be used to remind all those concerned, that operations in Somalia and other theatres, are combat missions and not welfare missions where you can access UN allowances’-said Museveni in a statement.

The president however has put the blame on the light weapons guarding the attacked base, panicking by the soldiers manning the guard brigade and also suspects some soldiers might have been sent when they’re not suited for that mission or not properly prepared for it.

“Those defences are quite strong although they are guarded by light weapons. they were two tanks, two 14.5mm anti- aircraft guns and a 107mm Katyusha rocket launcher. some of the soldiers there did not perform as expected and panicked, which disorganized them and the Al-Shabaab took advantage of that to overrun the base and destroy some of the equipment”-reads Museveni’s statement

Museveni has also vowed that the operations are continuing and the terrorists will regret their actions.

“Moreover, our UAVs were watching the whole scenario from up in the sky and directing fire. The CDF has set up a board of Inquiry (BOI) and the full facts will come out, including the details of the causalities. Many of the soldiers withdrew to the next FOB, nine kilometres away. The terrorists were many about 800 or so according to the UAVs”- reads part of Museveni’s statement.

Uganda has deployed in Somalia since 2007 and has really paid the price during several attacks on its bases in Somalia where soldiers have died. The twin bombs in 2010 in Kabalagala which claimed 78 people and Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility and said it punished Uganda for it’s continued deployment of troops in Somalia.

We wait for the official figures of the causalities.

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