Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni late Saturday said 54 of the country’s peacekeeping troops were killed in a deadly attack last week in southwest Somalia.
The soldiers were killed after al-Shabaab, a militant group, overran a military base manned by a Ugandan contingent of the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) at Bulo Marer town, about 120 km southwest of Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia.
“Our soldiers demonstrated remarkable resilience and reorganized themselves, resulting in the recapture of the base. We discovered the lifeless bodies of 54 fallen soldiers, including a commander,” according to a State House statement issued in Kampala, the capital of Uganda, quoting President Museveni as saying.
The president made the remarks while addressing the ruling party National Resistance Movement Parliamentary Caucus in the central district of Kyakwanzi.
The president also said Al-Shabaab militants attempted to launch an attack on Baraawe town but were repelled by the Uganda peacekeepers. “They made an ill-fated attempt on Baraawe, but our forces dealt a significant blow, forcing them to flee,” said Museveni.
The Ugandan military last week dispatched a team of experts to investigate the May 26 attack on its troops by the Al-Shabaab.
Uganda is one of the troops-contributing countries to the ATMIS battling terrorists in Somalia, in addition to Burundi, Djibouti, Kenya and Ethiopia.
Ugandan peacekeepers deployed under ATMIS were attacked by Al-Shabab in Bulo Marer, 120 km southwest of Mogadishu in the Lower Shabelle region. The militant group claims to have killed more than 130 soldiers. ATMIS confirmed that Al-Shabab extremists launched the dawn attack against its military base using vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs) and suicide bombers.
Egypt and the European Union (EU) have condemned the terrorist attack by Al-Shabab terrorists against a military base manned by ATMIS in southern Somalia.