Yoweri Museveni, President of Uganda, has disclosed that at least 54 peacekeeping soldiers from the African Union force were killed in an insurgent attack on their base in Somalia last week.
In a tweet late Saturday, Museveni wrote, “We found the bodies of 54 soldiers, one of whom was a commander.” The attack that occurred on May 26 targeted the Bulo Marer base, situated approximately 120 kilometers southwest of the capital, Mogadishu.
The militants drove a vehicle packed with explosives into the base, instigating a gunfire exchange, according to Somali military officials and local residents. The al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab movement, which has been fighting the internationally-backed federal government since 2007 to impose Islamic law in Somalia, claimed responsibility for the attack.
This represents one of the most significant losses for the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) since launching operations against al-Shabab last August.
The AMISOM force, which comprises around twenty thousand soldiers, police, and civilians from Uganda, Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Kenya, replaced the United Nations force deployed in April 2022 to combat the al-Shabab insurgency since 2007.
Museveni acknowledged last week that an initial panicked reaction contributed to the elevated toll. He noted that two commanders who “ordered the soldiers to retreat” made a mistake and will face charges in a military court.
According to the statement, the president stated, “Our soldiers showed notable resilience and managed to reorganize themselves, leading to the recovery of the base.”