GOOBJOOG NEWS | KAMPALA: Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has broken his silence over the early Friday attack on a Ugandan Army base in Buula Mareer by Al-Shabaab militants who managed to overrun the facility with over 200 troops.
In a statement issued on Twitter, Museveni said the attackers were about 800 according to data captured by Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) also known as drones.
Museveni however appeared to blame his forces for failing in both human and technological intelligence in detecting the attackers.
“In the night of Thursday, at the 11th hour of the night and ten minutes (what the Europeans call 5.30 AM of Friday), we had an unfortunate incident in Somalia where our force has operated successfully, ever since 2007,” he said.
According to his statement, there were two tanks, two 14.5mm anti- air-craft guns and a 107mm Katyusha rocket launcher at the base at the time of the attack.
“Those defences are quite strong, although they are guarded by light weapons,” President Museveni said.
President Museveni however said some of the soldiers did not perform as expected and panicked, which led to disorganization and the Al-Shabaab took advantage of that to overrun the base and destroy some of the equipment.
“The panic, it seems, was totally unnecessary because, in fact, both the anti-tank ditch and our soldiers had destroyed three 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 explained.
Adding, “Moreover, our UAVs were watching the whole scenario from up in the sky and directing fire. The Chief of Defence Forces (CDF) has set up a Board of Inquiry (BOI), and the full facts will come out, including the details of the casualties.”
In the statement, he also revealed that when the attack started, many of the soldiers withdrew to the next Forward Operating Base (FOB), nine kilometres away, because the Al Shabaab outnumbered the soldiers at the Buulo Mareer base.
While sending condolences to the families of the fallen soldiers, the president question the mode of choosing soldiers for such missions saying those involved should send soldiers who are well prepared.
“It is criminal for anybody involved to send into such a theatre soldiers who are either not suited for that mission or not properly prepared for it. Details will come out after the BOI has finished its work,” Mr Museveni said.