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Lt Gen Muhanga rushes to Somalia after attack on UPDF base

Major General Kayanja Muhanga (Front) of the Ugandan army (UPDF) is seen in an exclusive interview with Xinhua in Beni territory, northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), on Dec. 8, 2021. PHOTO XINHUA

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Commander of Uganda People’s Defence Forces(UPDF) land forces, Lt Gen Kayanja Muhanga has rushed to Somalia after an attack on the UPDF base by the Al-Shabaab.

On Friday, the Al-Shabaab issued a statement claiming it had raided Uganda forces’ base at the outskirts of the town of Buula-Mareer, Islamic Wilaayah of Lower Shabeele killing 137 soldiers.

“By the grace of Allah, the Mujahideen successfully overran the base, securing its perimeters and taking control of its defense pots. initial reports from the battlefield indicate the death of 137 crusaders, the destruction and seizure of military vehicles,” Al-Shabaab claimed.

However, Brig Felix Kulayigye, the UPDF Spokesperson, without giving numbers of the deaths or injuries said: “…a team of military officials led by Lt Gen Muhanga has been dispatched to Somalia to ascertain the circumstances under which the attack happened and devise the way forward.”

Brig Kulayigye’s statement is not different from that issued by the African Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) which also confirmed an attack on Ugandan forces but did not give details of the deaths or injuries.

“Fighting between the terrorists and ATMIS soldiers ensued. Reinforcement from ATMIS Aviation Unit and allies managed to destroy weapons in possession of the withdrawing Al-Shabaab militants,” ATMIS statement read in part.

If this is true, it’ll be the biggest killing of ATMIS forces which metamorphosed from the African Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) in a single attack. UPDF and its counterparts from Kenya, Burundi, Ethiopia, and Djibouti were supposed to completely withdraw from Somalia at the end of 2021.

However, the mission was changed from AMISOM to ATMIS. UPDF said there was a need to empower Somalia’s National Army through training, command, intelligence, and response to terror attacks.



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