Uganda confirms death of troops in al-Shabaab attack

Uganda has confirmed the killing of twelve of her soldiers in Somalia following an attack at their camp in Janale, 90km south west of the capital Mogadishu on Monday evening.

Reports emerged on Tuesday that al-Shabaab fighters had overrun an Amisom military base in southern Somalia, inflicting heavy casualties.

AU forces confirmed the attack but could not give the figure of casualties.

And today, Ugandan military spokesman Gen Paddy Ankunda said that Uganda Peoples Defence Forces has confirmed the killing of 12 of their soldiers in the attack.

“UPDF has confirmed 12 soldiers died in Somalia Janale attack,” he said in a tweet today morning adding that their bodies would soon arrive at Entebbe Airport.

“Twelve soldiers died, ten are landing this morning, two more to follow,” he said in another tweet.

He said the army could not reveal the number and names of the casualties before their families were notified.

“Number and names of the dead will be published now that the Next of Kin have been notified as per our policy. Next of Kin had to be informed first instead of learning about it from TV,” he explained.

Although al-Shabaab said they had killed 70 AU soldiers in the attack, Gen Ankunda said only twelve had been killed and that Amisom has accounted for all their soldiers.

“AMISOM has accounted for all its soldiers. None is missing in action from Janaale attack,” he said.

Ugandan Chief of Defence Forces, Gen Katumba Wamala flew to Mogadishu yesterday to meet UPDF commanders following the attack.

He was to assess the security situation and return to Kampala ‘as soon as possible’.

Gen Ankunda has vowed relentless onslaught against the militants saying the attack would give their soldier fresh impetus to fight.

“We will not relent in our efforts to help in the pacification of Somalia. This attack is a game changer and al-Shabaab can only expect an appropriate response from UPDF,” he vowed.

The attack started with a suicide car bombing at the base’s gate, followed by sustained gunfire which lasted more than an hour.

Residents told the BBC Somali service that AU forces were seen leaving the base, which is run by the Ugandan troops.

They said they counted the bodies of 20 AU soldiers and later they saw more troops arriving at the base after the militants had left with weapons.

The AU mission in Somalia (Amisom) says the situation was complex and that their troops had taken “a tactical withdrawal.”

Correspondents in Mogadishu say the situation in the area is very tense and few residents remain there.

The militants had earlier damaged a nearby bridge with a massive bomb to prevent troops from escaping, Col Ahmed Hassan from the Somali army told the Associated Press.

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