Uganda shaken up at Al-shabab attack in Somalia

19 soldiers were killed and six were missing following the Sept. 1 attack in Janale, Somalia.

A Uganda official said 12 Ugandan soldiers had been killed, Uganda’s Ministry of Defense said in a statement that Ugandan soldiers captured two of the attackers and killed 46 of them,

The militant group al-Shabab has said it killed 50 Ugandan soldiers at the base in Janale.

In 2007, Uganda became the first African country to send troops to Somalia to back up the country’s weak federal government. Ethiopia, Djibouti Kenya and Burundi have also contributed troops to the peacekeeping mission.

Al-shabab attacked the African Union base after ramming a suicide car bomb into it.

“The attack started with a suicide bomb explosion and the fighters stormed the base, engaging in fighting that continued inside the military camp for about 40 minutes,” said Shabaab spokesman Abdulaziz Abu Musab.

The Shabaab said the attack in Janale district, 80 kilometres (50 miles) southwest of Mogadishu in the Lower Shabelle region, was revenge for the killing of seven civilians by Ugandan troops at a wedding in the town of Merka in July.

In June, the group overran another African Union base in Lego, a small town in the Lower Shabelle region in southern Somalia, killing dozens of soldiers and seizing military equipments.

Despite losing most of its key strongholds in south and central Somalia, al-Shabab continues to carry out attacks on the government and African Union troops across the country.

The Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) has suspended four commanders at the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom) military base that was attacked on September 1 by al-Shabaab fighters.

The suspension, pending a military trial, was ordered by President Museveni; in a radio message to the chief of defence forces (CDF) and all units, as Museveni wondered how al-Shabaab could breach UPDF defences.

The death toll mentioned by President Museveni contradicts those announced by the army shortly after the attack, in which they said the army had lost 12 fighters, but then returned only 10 bodies.

Addressing journalists in Japan, where he was on a state visit, President Museveni said the suspended commanders would face a military court martial for their role in the incident. The president said the attack claimed 19 soldiers, while another six are feared to have been captured by the Somali militants.

“It was the mistake of our own soldiers. Our commanders were asleep, not alert,” Museveni told a small group of reporters in Tokyo, according to the Associated Press.

In his radio message sent out on September 1, President Museveni mentioned that the UPDF lost 17 fighters [which he has since updated to 19] and wondered how the attack could have happened. He ordered for the arrest of the battalion commander of the UPDF sector in Janale, as well as the company commanders and intelligence officers.

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