UPDF Confirms 12 Soldiers Dead in Al Shabaab Ambush

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In short
There is still conflicting information about the number of Ugandan soldiers killed in Somalia on Sunday, with the army saying 12 while other sources put the figure at 21.

There is still conflicting information about the number of Ugandan soldiers killed in Somalia on Sunday, with the army saying 12 while other sources put the figure at 21.
 
In a morning ambush, the Al Shabaab fighters attacked a joint African Union Mission force comprising the Somali National Army and the UPDF who were conducting a regular patrol to secure the Mogadishu Barawe Main Supply Route (MSR).
 
The incident took place at Gorowen town between Bulumaler and Beladamini in Lower Shabelle region, about 140kms South West of Mogadishu.
 
On Sunday evening, Brigadier Richard Karemire issued a statement talking about fatalities but did not give numbers of the dead and those injured. This morning, however, details have started emerging with Karemire issuing another statement indicating 12 deaths and seven others who were injured.
 
Brigadier Karemire quotes the UPDF AMISOM Contingent commander, Brig Kayanja Muhanga, whom he says has been on ground to conduct counter operations.
 
"From the battlefield, it is now confirmed that UPDF lost 12 gallant soldiers with 07 sustaining injuries.  The dead and those injured have been evacuated to Mogadishu Level II Hospital for further management and treatment," Karemire says.
 
He says the UPDF office of Chief of Personnel and Administration is contacting the relatives of the deceased and injured to inform them of the developments while arrangements are being made to transport the bodies back home. 
 
A military source who preferred to remain unnamed has, however, told URN that the UPDF lost 21 soldiers in action and nine others are seriously injured. Another 25 soldiers returned to the UPDF base alive while two are still missing, according to the source.
 
But Brigadier Karemire dismissed this figure when URN contacted him on phone. He says the source may be a victim of "Al Shabaab propaganda." He insisted that nobody knows the UPDF soldiers than their commanders who quoted the figure of 12 deaths and seven injuries.
 
Brigadier Karemire says the army is instituting an inquiry "to establish circumstances leading to this fateful incident." 
 
"Our deepest sympathy and condolences go to the families of our departed comrades and the struggle for peace and stability in Africa continues," he says.
 
Hours after the attack, Reuters news agency quoted Abdiasis Abu Musab, a senior al Shabaab military officer as saying they had killed at least 39 AMISOM troops, including a commander, during the ambush.
 
This is the first major Al Shabaab attack since September 2015 when the UPDF lost at least 19 soldiers. Different government officials, however, kept giving conflicting reports about the 2015 attack as international media put the number of dead at close to 50. One soldier, Private Masasa, was taken alive by the militants only to be executed in January this year.
 
A December 25, 2014 al Shabaab attack on the Amisom senior officers' mess in Mogadishu left three soldiers dead.
 
In August 2010, four UPDF soldiers died when the al Shabaab fighters attacked the presidential palace in Mogadishu. In this particular attack, 86 Somali soldiers perished while the enemy lost 70 fighters.
 
In another deadly attack on September 17, 2009 at the AMISOM headquarters in Mogadishu, at least six UPDF soldiers died. This particular attack also claimed the life of a senior Burundian officer, Major Gen Juvenal Niyoyunguriza, then serving as the overall deputy Amisom force commander. Major Gen Nathan Mugisha, the then overall commander was also injured.

Early this month, the Uganda Peoples' Defence Forces (UPDF) flagged off 1456 soldiers under Battle Group XXII and United Nations Guard Unit (UNGU) IV to the war-torn Somalia where Uganda has maintained presence for 10 years.

Uganda currently has over 6,000 troops in Somalia as part of the African Peacekeeping Mission in Somalia (AMISON). Uganda was the first country to deploy in Somalia in 2007, some 16 years after the country descended into anarchy following the fall of General Mohammed Siad Barre in January 1991.