The Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) and the Somalia National Army have successfully retrieved weapons that were stolen during an attack by al-Shabaab insurgents on a military base last week.
The forward operating base (FOB) in Buulo Mareer, Lower Shabelle, Somalia, which housed Ugandan troops, was overrun by al-Shabaab militants. The insurgents killed an unknown number of soldiers, injured others, and seized a considerable quantity of abandoned weapons.
In a statement issued by the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATIMS), it was revealed that the joint forces pursued the retreating al-Shabaab militants, resulting in the elimination of a significant number of terrorists. The operation also led to the recovery of multiple looted weapons from the FOB.
The Buulo Mareer FOB, which housed around 100 to 200 soldiers, was abandoned by the troops during the attack, leaving the weapons behind.
Al-Shabaab claimed to have killed 137 soldiers and captured others, but neither ATIMS nor Ugandan authorities have confirmed the allegation.
While the Ugandan government acknowledged the loss of soldiers, they did not disclose the exact number.
In response to the militants attempting to use vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIED) to attack military bases at night, the army commanders from Uganda and Somalia have imposed a curfew on vehicles traveling along the Afgoye to Barawe highway in Lower Shabelle.
Maj Peter Mugisa, spokesperson for the Ugandan contingent in Somalia, stated that the decision was made during a visit by UPDF Commander of Land Forces, Lt Gen Kayanja Muhanga, and Somali National Army (SNA) Chief of Defence Forces (CDF) Gen Odowaa Yusuf Rageh to the commanders and troops in Sector One at Goloweyn Forward Operating Base.
“The joint commanders have agreed to enforce a curfew on the highway (main supply route) from Afgoye to Barawe in the Lower Shabelle region. No vehicles or motorcycles will be allowed to travel at night. The order will take immediate effect after coordination with local leaders in the districts of Marka and Kuutnuwarey,” the statement explained.
Lt Gen Kayanja visited Somalia to investigate the attack on the Ugandan military base and will report his findings to President Museveni for further action.
During his visit, Lt Gen Kayanja reassured the soldiers that al-Shabaab has been weakened and urged them to remain courageous.
“We acknowledge our fear of death, but a well-informed soldier conquers fear,” Gen Kayanja emphasized.
Accompanying Lt Gen Kayanja were Col Stuart Agaba, the director of operations in the Land Forces; Col Elvis Byamukama, the movement control commander; and Lt Col Albert Kashakamba, the director of intelligence.