Uganda has confirmed 12 of its soldiers serving under AMISOM in Somalia were killed in the Janale military base attack, Lower Shabelle dismissing media reports and western diplomatic sources that an upwards of 50 soldiers were killed.
In a brief to the Ugandan Parliament, Defence Minister General Odong Jeje said contrary to reports in the public domain that up to 50 soldiers were killed in the September 1st Al-Shabaab attack, only 12 Ugandan soldiers died. Gen Jeje also said 46 Al-Shabaab fighters were killed during the attack and two others were captured alive.
“I am giving these figures so that you are informed and not swayed by the outrageous stories in the media,” said Gen Jeje.
The Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) spokesman Lt Col Ankunda affirmed the minister’s remarks noting that 10 bodies of the fallen soldiers had been flown to the country and two others were yet to.
“Twelve soldiers died, ten are landing this morning, two more to follow. Names of the dead will be published now that the next of kin have been notified as per our policy,” Lt Col Ankunda said.
Though AMISOM has not put out an official statement to confirm the casualty figures, Lt Col Ankunda said AMISOM had verified the figures and established that 12 soldiers had been killed rubbishing claims that many soldiers had more had died.
“Western sources on fatalities in Somalia are wrong. UPDF has done the headcount, let the speculation stop,” Lt Col Ankunda reiterated.
International media reports had quoted western diplomatic sources who indicated that as many as 50 UPDF soldiers perished in the Tuesday morning attack which Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility.
In a similar development, the Ugandan Chief of Defence Staff, General Katumba Wamala today visited the Ugandan troops in Janale where he commended them for their gallant fight and courage to fend off the Al-Shabaab militants.
“I am convinced that the boys put up a good fight,” said Gen. Wamala while commiserating with the families of the slain troops and fellow soldiers.