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Uganda reports 54 African Union peacekeepers killed in Somalia attack


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Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said that at least 54 African Union peacekeepers were killed when terrorists attacked a base housing Ugandan units in Somalia last week.

“We have discovered the bodies of 54 dead soldiers, including a commander,” Museveni said in a statement posted on his official Twitter account late on Saturday.

Al-Shabaab, which has been waging a deadly insurgency against Somalia’s fragile central government for more than a decade, claimed responsibility for the dawn attack on May 26.

Local residents and a Somali military commander told AFP that the terrorists drove a car loaded with explosives to the base in Bulo Marer, 120 km (75 miles) southwest of the capital Mogadishu, sparking an armed clash.

The toll is among the most violent yet since pro-government forces backed by the African Union force known as ATMIS launched an offensive last August against al-Shabaab.

Museveni said last week that the initial panicked reaction to the attack contributed to the death toll.

“The mistake was made by two commanders, Major Oloka and Major Obo, who ordered the soldiers to retreat,” Museveni said in the statement, adding that they would face charges in a court-martial.

However, “our soldiers showed remarkable resilience and reorganized, which led to the recapture of the base.”

The 20,000-strong ATMIS force has more offensive power than its predecessor, known as the AMISOM.

The force consists of Uganda, Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya.

Its goal is to hand over security responsibilities to the Somali army and police by 2024.

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