Uganda Says 54 African Union Peacekeepers Killed in Somalia Attack

Sun Jun 04 2023
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KAMPALA: Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has said that at least 54 African Union (AU) peacekeepers were murdered after extremists assaulted a facility holding Ugandan forces in Somalia last week.

In a tweet published late Saturday on his official Twitter account, Museveni stated, “We discovered the lifeless bodies of 54 fallen soldiers, including a commander.”

The May 26 morning attack was blamed on Al-Shabaab, a violent insurgency that has been raging for more than ten years against the weak central government of Somalia.

According to AFP, the militants opened fire on the facility in Bulo Marer, 120 kilometres (75 miles) southwest of the capital Mogadishu, after driving a car packed with explosives into it.

Since pro-government forces supported by the AU force known as ATMIS started an operation against Al-Shabaab in August, the death toll is one of the highest recorded.

Museveni had already stated last week that the death toll was impacted by an immediate response of terror to the incident.

Maj. Oluka and Maj. Obbo ordered the soldiers to retreat, which was a mistake, Museveni said in the statement, adding that they will be held accountable in a court martial.

But “our soldiers showed remarkable resiliency and reorganised themselves, leading to the recapture of the base,” according to the statement.

The 20,000-member ATMIS force’s mandate is more aggressive than that of its forerunner, AMISOM.

Uganda, Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, and other nations are represented in the force, which is stationed in southern and central Somalia. By 2024, it hopes to transfer security control to Somalia’s army and police.

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