In a tragic incident, al-Shabab militants launched a deadly attack on a base housing African Union peacekeepers in Somalia, resulting in the death of 54 Ugandan soldiers, according to President Yoweri Museveni.
The assault took place in Bulamarer, approximately 130 kilometers (80 miles) southwest of the capital city of Mogadishu. Museveni made the announcement on Saturday, a week after the attack occurred.
Al-Shabab, an al-Qaeda-linked armed group, claimed responsibility for the assault and stated that it involved suicide bomb attacks that claimed the lives of 137 soldiers.
Despite this devastating loss, Museveni revealed that the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) managed to recapture the base from the militants.
He praised the resilience and reorganization of the soldiers, leading to the successful recapture on Tuesday.
The president had previously acknowledged Ugandan casualties but refrained from providing specific details regarding the attack on the troops.
These soldiers were serving in the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS), a peacekeeping force aimed at stabilizing the country and supporting its government.
Al-Shabab, which has been engaged in a prolonged conflict since 2006, seeks to overthrow Somalia’s Western-backed government and establish its own rule based on a strict interpretation of Islamic law.
In recent months, the Somali government, following the election victory of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, launched a rigorous offensive against the militant group, resulting in significant territorial losses for al-Shabab.
However, the recent attack highlights that al-Shabab still possesses the capability to launch major assaults on government, commercial, and military targets.
Additionally, the group intermittently carries out reprisal attacks in neighboring Kenya, targeting Nairobi for its support of Mogadishu’s efforts to counter the rebel group.
The loss of these 54 Ugandan soldiers serves as a stark reminder of the ongoing challenges faced by the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia, as it continues to confront the persistent threat posed by al-Shabab.
The international community stands in solidarity with Uganda and expresses its condolences to the families of the fallen soldiers.