Government through the Minister of Defence, Adolf Mwesige has committed to offer a comprehensive statement to Parliament on the statuts of Uganda’s peacekeeping operations in Somalia.
The report will also exhaustively explain the number of Ugandan peacekeepers who were killed on mission in Somalia.
This followed issues raised on Wednesday by Kilak South MP and Shadow Minister for Defense, Gilbert Olanya who tasked government to give a clarification on the actual number of UPDF soldiers that were killed in the recent attack in Somalia.
On Easter Sunday, the Al-Qaeda linked Al-Shabaab militants raided the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) base at Quoryole, Bulomareer and Golwein in Lower Shabelle region in Somalia and detonated two of their vehicles killing some UPDF soldiers.
Olanya quoted the UPDF spokesperson, Brig Richard Kalemeire who told the country that only four soldiers had died but wondered why later the President would tweet a total of 8 foreign soldiers.
However, it should be noted that later, Brig Karemire clarified that the death toll of the UPDF soldiers had risen to 8 after 4 others who had sustained injuries also died.
Olanya who at one point attempted to read out the names of the deceased said that information that he is privy to shows that 10 soldiers have died and 14 are injured, appealing government to stop deceiving Ugandans.
“Ugandans deserve to know the number of soldiers that were lost in Somalia in the recent attacks. Government should come out clearly to reveal the names of the fallen soldiers and when they are expected to reach the country for burial,” Olanya demanded.
In response, the Minister of Defence Adolf Mwesige promised to release a comprehensive report on the AMISOM operation as whole. He informed the House that 130 Al-Shabaab militants had been killed while only 8 UPDF soldiers died with four dying on the spot and the others dying later among the six causalities.
On why Uganda does not withdraw troops from Somalia following discussion that was held last week, Mwesige said that UPDF’s stay in Somalia was agreed upon in the United Nations Security Council.
“The withdraw of the UPDF was discussed by the UN Security Council and other agencies and agreed that, since the threat still exists, the troop contributing countries should stay in Somalia until a review in 2019”.
Uganda was the first country to deploy troops under AMISOM into Somalia in March 2007.
The Ugandan contingent remains the largest contingent in AMISOM with 6,223 troops based in Sector 1 which comprises of Banadir (Mogadishu), Middle and Lower Shabelle regions.
Until now, Uganda has deployed 12 battle groups into the Mission area. The recently deployed Battle Group 12 joined their Burundian counterparts in Baidoa.