Al-Shabab raid on UPDF base In Somalia: ‘‘it was a missed opportunity to crush the over 800 terrorists’’ – Museveni

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President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has expressed concern over an attack by Al-Shabaab militants on Ugandan soldiers stationed in South of Mogadishu in Bulo-Mareer, Somalia in statement on social media.
Al Shabaab, the militant group that has long been mocked as a degraded force, on Friday mounted a deadly attack and overran a base of nearly 200 combat-hardened soldiers. The army base is located in Bulo Marer, 120 kilometers (75 miles) southwest of the capital Mogadishu.
Al-Shabab claimed in a statement that it carried out suicide bomb attacks and killed 137 soldiers. But Strategic Intelligence Service, a site that releases counterterrorism and security intelligence alerts off its Twitter handle @CTNSIS, put the figure at more than 50 soldiers.
A Somali military captain told Reuters news agency that the militants attacked two bases, which he said “prompted a fierce battle for hours. All groups, including al-Shabab, suffered heavy casualties.”
According to the East African, a senior Ugandan military commander is among the dead.
Local residents said they woke up to the sound of huge explosions and heavy weapons.
“Now we see al-Shabab in the town. We cannot know how many died. We are not hearing any shots from ATMIS and government now,” local resident Rukia Farah said.
Within hours of the attack, Al Shabaab claimed in a statement, that it had killed “Ugandan crusaders” as well as inflicted destruction and seizure of military vehicles and capture of the base’s cache of weapons and ammunition.
Highlighting the incident, President Museveni expressed concern over an attack by Al-Shabaab militants on Ugandan soldiers stationed in South of Mogadishu in Bulo-Mareer, Somalia in statement on social media.
“In the night of Thursday, at the 11th hour of the night and ten minutes (what the Europeans call 5.30am of Friday), we had an unfortunate incident in Somalia where our force has operated successfully, ever since 2007,” President Museveni stated.
The forward operational base (FOB) manned by Ugandan soldiers was overrun by Al-Shabaab, resulting in the destruction of equipment.
He revealed that some soldiers panicked during the attack, causing disorganization. However, the President highlighted that the panic was unnecessary as the soldiers had already neutralized the threat.
“Both the anti-tank ditch and our soldiers had destroyed the 3 vehicles of explosives outside the FOB. The suicide bombers or whatever, were forced to blow themselves up before they gained entry into the base,” he says.
President Museveni expressed his regret that the situation presented a missed opportunity. “…it was a missed opportunity, to annihilate them. The terrorists were many, about 800 or so according to the UAVs. The operations are continuing, and they will regret their actions,” the statement reads.
He also extended his condolences to the families of the fallen soldiers and reminded all involved that operations in Somalia are combat missions and not welfare missions.
The Ministry of Defence has taken swift action in response to the attack. A team of UPDF officers, led by the commander of land forces Lt Gen Kayanja Muhanga, has been dispatched to ascertain the circumstances surrounding the incident. Their investigation aims to gather critical information about the attack
“The Chief of Defense Forces (CDF) has initiated a Board of Inquiry (BOI) investigation to uncover the full details of the incident, including casualty figures,” President Museveni states.
The UPDF has been on the receiving end of deadly raids on its bases but none as big as the Friday attack at Buulo Mareer.
In 2015, an explosion went off at dawn in Janaale, when a suicide bomber drove an explosive laden vehicle and overran the quarter guard of the then Amisom detachment manned by Uganda troops. That attack, blamed on command and operational lapses, would leave 19 UPDF soldiers dead.

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