Museveni confirms casualties among UPDF soldiers in Somali attack

UN peacekeepers in Somalia (PHOTO/Courtesy)

UN peacekeepers in Somalia (PHOTO/Courtesy)

KAMPALA – President Yoweri Museveni said late on Saturday that there had been casualties during an attack by Somalia’s Islamist group al-Shabaab on a military base manned by Ugandan peacekeepers in the Horn of African country on Friday.

He did not elaborate on the number of soldiers killed or wounded, but it was the first official admission of losses in the attack among the Ugandan troops who are serving in the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (Atmis).

“Condolences to the country and the families of those who died,” Mr. Museveni said in a statement, adding the country’s military had set up a panel to investigate what happened.

Al-Shabaab fighters targeted the base early on Friday in Bulamarer, 130km southwest of the capital Mogadishu.

Al-Shabaab said in a statement at the time that it had carried out suicide bomb attacks and killed 137 soldiers at the base.

There was no immediate official confirmation of the casualties. Al-Shabaab tends to give casualty figures in attacks that differ from those issued by the authorities.

Atmis has so far not said how many troops were killed or wounded in the attack.

The peacekeeping mission has been in Somalia since 2007 and helps to defend Somalia’s central government against the Islamists.

Additional reporting by agencies 

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