By Spy Uganda
HE Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has announced that the death of 54 soldiers in Somalia was a mistake made by two commanders he identified as Maj. Oluka and Maj. Obbo, who ordered the soldiers to retreat.
”They have been apprehended and will face charges in the Court Martial,” Museveni confirmed.
The assault on the base of the AU force in Somalia (Atmis), manned by Ugandan soldiers, was launched at dawn in Bulo Marer, 120 km south-west of the capital Mogadishu, using a car bomb and suicide bombers, followed by clashes with automatic weapons.
Museveni said that in the same Al Shabaab attack that was condemned by the United States and the European Union, Uganda lost a commander.
“We discovered the lifeless bodies of fifty-four fallen soldiers, including a commander. These terrorists attempted another ill-fated attack on Baraawe Town, but our forces dealt a significant blow, forcing them to flee,” Museveni added.
But What Does Al Shabaab Want?
The Shebab are fighting the Somali government and its international allies to establish Islamic law in this country in the Horn of Africa.
To counter them, in 2007 the African Union deployed a force made up of soldiers and police from Uganda, Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya, called Amisom and authorized by the UN Security Council.
ATMIS took over from Amisom in April 2022, with a more offensive mandate, and the aim of handing over full responsibility for the country’s security to Somali forces by the end of 2024.
Driven out of the main towns in 2011-2012, the Shebab remain firmly entrenched in vast rural areas.
In May 2022, they launched a major attack against an ATMIS base manned by Burundian soldiers north of Mogadishu. Neither the Somali authorities nor the AU have given any figures, but Burundian military sources said that 45 soldiers were killed or missing.
After returning to power in May 2022, Somali President Hassan Cheikh Mohamoud declared an “all-out war” against the Shebab and launched a military offensive, backed by ATMIS and US air strikes.
In September, the Somali president sent troops to support local clan militias who had risen up against them in the center of the country.
The army and these militias, known as “macawisley”, have since recaptured large swathes of territory from the Shebab, supported by ATMIS and US air strikes.
Despite these setbacks, the Shebab have continued to carry out deadly attacks, including in the heart of towns and military installations. On October 29, 2022, two car bombs exploded in Mogadishu, killing 121 people and wounding 333, the deadliest attack in the country in five years.
In a report to the UN Security Council in February, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres claimed that 2022 had been the deadliest year for civilians in Somalia since 2017, largely due to Shebab attacks.