At least 54 soldiers, including a commander were killed when al-Shabaab fighters attacked a Ugandan peacekeeping force’s base in Lower Shabelle region of Somalia, President Yoweri Museveni confirmed Saturday.
The remarks of Museveni come barely a week after al-Shabaab fighters stormed the base in Bulamarer, 130 kilometres (80 miles) southwest of the Somali capital, Mogadishu.
Museveni said on Saturday that the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) had since recaptured the base from the al-Qaeda-linked armed group.
“Our soldiers demonstrated remarkable resilience and reorganized themselves, resulting in the recapture of the base. We discovered the lifeless bodies of fifty-four fallen soldiers, including a Commander,” Museveni said.
Al-Shabaab via its communication channels claimed it had overrun the base and to have killed 137 soldiers at the base.
Al-Shabaab has since 2006 has been fighting to topple Somali government and establish its own administration.
The 20,000-strong ATMIS force has a more offensive remit than its predecessor known as AMISOM.
The force is drawn from Uganda, Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya, with troops deployed in southern and central Somalia. Its goal is to hand over security responsibilities to Somalia’s army and police by 2024.