Uganda Silent Over Al-Shabab Killing of UPDF In Somalia Top story

7571 Views Kismayo, Somalia

In short
The government and military have remained silent about the Tuesday attack by the Al-shabab on the Ugandan contingent deployed in war-torn Somalia. Emerging reports indicate the the country may have lost over seventy soldier in attack.

The government of Uganda has remained silent on the killings of its troops in the Somali town of Janale, 24 hours after the attack. Ugandan soldiers are serving in the war torn country as part of the African Union Peace Keeping Mission in Somalia (Amisom).

Western diplomats, International organisations and governments have issued statements condemning the attacks and are sending messages of condolence and sympathy to the people and government of Uganda over the huge loss it suffered from the attacked by the Al-Shabaab.

The United Nation, African Union, the European Union and the Prime Minister of Somalia have all sent condolences to the Uganda government for the losses suffered during the Tuesday morning attack.

However, efforts by the media to get official statement from the government or the military have been futile. The army spokesperson, Lieutenant Colonel Paddy Ankunda, was reportedly in Nairobi while his Deputy Major Henry Obbo could not be reached on phone. 

The Government Media Centre and State House are yet to issue any statement on the incident though it has been confirmed that Janale military camp located in the Lower Shabelle region, was manned by Ugandan troops, with about 110 Ugandan soldiers present at the time of the attack.

Foreign news agencies are reporting that up to fifty Ugandan soldiers may have died, with fifty others unaccounted for after the Tuesday incident in which the Al-Shabaab militants overran the Janale military camp in southern Somali.

However, a source within the Ugandan contingent says only 12 soldiers were injured and five bodies had been recovered by Tuesday night.

The Chairperson of the African Union Commission for Somalia Maman Sidikou strongly condemned the attack in a statement issued Tuesday afternoon.

The statement said given the complex nature of the attack, Amisom was still verifying the number of casualties and extent of the damage. But by the time of filing this report on Wednesday evening, no update had been issued from Mogadishu and Kampala.

AFP news agency quoted unnamed Western diplomats saying an assessment by AMISOM on Wednesday morning found that 50 soldiers had been killed and fifty others were missing following the attack.

The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Somalia, Nicholas Kay, strongly condemned the attack. "I send my deepest condolences to the families who have lost loved ones in today's attack as well as to the people and the governments of Uganda and Somalia."

Prime Minister of Somalia, Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke in a short statement condemned the attack describing it as barbaric.
The European Union in a statement from Brussels  condemned the attack saying it occurred at the time when  the people of Somalia are working to build a more stable and safe country.

The statements said the attack appeared to be a response to the successful offensive that AMISOM and the Somali National Army have been undertaking against the Al-Shabaab in Central and Southern Somalia.

A source in Somalia says the evacuation process was taking rather longer because the Al-Shabab had blown up the bridge to the base. The source said the causality on the Ugandan contingent was huge. 

The Al-Shabab militants claimed on Tuesday that it had killed 70 soldiers, fifty of them by gunfire while twenty drowned in river while trying to flee.
The group says the attack was to revenge the killing of seven civilians by Ugandan troops at a wedding in the town of Merka in July.

Ugandan army troops allegedly killed six men at a wedding on July 31, 2015, in the Somali port town of Merka.

The African Union last month confirmed the killing of seven civilians by Amisom troops and set up a board of inquiry composed of military, civilian and police officers not from the Ugandan contingent to begin the investigations.