Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni confirmed on Saturday that 54 Ugandan peacekeepers were killed in an attack last week by militant group al Shabaab on a military base in Somalia.
The Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) have since recaptured the base from the Islamist group.
“Our soldiers demonstrated remarkable resilience and reorganized themselves, resulting in the recapture of the base by Tuesday,” the president said in a statement.
The attack on the base in Bulamarer, 130 km (80 miles) southwest of the capital Mogadishu, took place early last Friday. Al Shabaab fighters targeted the base, which was home to Ugandan peacekeepers serving in the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS).
President Museveni had previously confirmed Ugandan casualties but had not provided further details about the attack on the troops.
The recent confirmation of the number of deaths makes it the deadliest attack on Ugandan troops in Somalia since their deployment in 2007.
Al Shabaab, which has links to al Qaeda, has been fighting to overthrow the Somali government and establish an Islamist state in the country. The group has been responsible for numerous attacks on civilians and military targets in Somalia and neighboring countries, including Kenya and Uganda.
The African Union has been supporting the Somali government in its efforts to combat al Shabaab and stabilize the country. The UPDF is one of several African Union forces deployed in Somalia as part of ATMIS.
The attack on the Ugandan peacekeepers highlights the ongoing security challenges faced by the African Union and the Somali government in their efforts to combat al Shabaab.
The Ugandan military has vowed to continue its operations against al Shabaab in Somalia and to work with other African Union forces to maintain security in the region.