By RISDEL KASASIRA - KAMPALA - Daily Monitor
Four Ugandan soldiers serving on the African Union’s mission in Somalia were on Thursday killed in an ambush by suspected Al Shabaab fighters.
The attack on the soldiers, whose unit was part of a force advancing towards Baidoa, is the first serious incident directly targeting the peacekeepers since the beginning of the ‘Operation Free Shabelle’ in August. Baidoa is about 200kms from Mogadishu.
Operation Free Shabelle marked the beginning of the second phase of the war against the Al Shabaab, taking the frontline outside Mogadishu. Ugandan troops are said to have moved over 100km from the Somali capital.
Sources said the AU peacekeepers were attacked in Baldogule by the insurgents who had retreated from the area following a UPDF attack on the town.
Baldogule Airbase, which is bigger than Mogadishu International Airport, was captured last week by the Ugandan forces. Army spokesperson Felix Kulayigye yesterday confirmed the incident, saying the Ugandans were killed in an explosion in which improvised explosive devices were detonated.
The spokesperson of the Ugandan contingent in Somalia, Capt Henry Obbo, said yesterday they had crossed Shabelle region and were half way to reaching Baidoa. “We will steadily carry on with the fight against the terrorists until we accomplish our mission. Al Shabaab fighters are losing in all grounds and our forces have already flashed them out by over half the journey to Baidoa,” he said, adding: We have already crossed from Shabelle region to Bay region in the general areas of Leego, which is AMISOM’s Sector Three.