President Museveni explains Al-Shabaab attack on base housing Uganda forces in Somalia that left a number of soldiers dead

President Yoweri Museveni has explained the circumstances under which the marauding-out lawed Al-Shabaab terrorists attacked the base belonging to the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) in Bulamarer, 130km (80 miles) southwest of the capital, Mogadishu, on Friday killing an specified number of UPDF soldiers .

“On night of Thursday, at the 11th hour of the night and ten minutes (what the Europeans call 5.30am of Friday), we had an unfortunate incident in Somalia where our force has operated successfully, ever since 2007. In the area of Bulo-Mareer, there was an FOB (Forward Operational Base) manned by a company of UPDF soldiers. Those defences are quite strong although they are guarded by light weapons.

There were two tanks, two 14.5mm anti- air-craft 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 overran the base and destroy some of the equipment,” President Museveni stated .

President Museveni who is also the commander in chief (CiC) of Uganda’s armed forces noted that the panic, it seems, was totally unnecessary because, in fact, both the anti-tank ditch and the UPDF soldiers had destroyed the 3 vehicles of explosives outside the FOB. “The suicide bombers or whatever, were forced to blow themselves up before they gained entry into the base.

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 casualties.”

Musveeni said that many of the soldiers withdrew to the next FOB, nine kilometres away. The terrorists were many, about 800 or so according to the UAVs. by withdrawing from their positions , Museveni said the UPDF had missed an opportunity, to annihilate them. he however, hastened to add that the operations are continuing and they will regret their actions.

“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.

It is criminal for anybody involved, to send into such a theatre soldiers who are either not suited for that mission or not properly prepared for it. Details will come out after the BOI has finished its work,” he stated in a subtle manner that indicates that there were mistakes made by the commanders .

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