The Ugandan army says it is investigating an attack on an African Union military base manned by the Uganda People Defence Force Forces (UPDF) in Bulo Marer town in Somalia.
UPDF spokesperson Felix Kulayigye says “The attack was carried out by “foreign insurgents” without giving further details.”
He said they were “cross-checking the information” with the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) headquarters before issuing a statement.
Reports indicate the attackers, suspected to be Al-Shabaab militants, attempted to storm the base located some 130km (80 miles) southwest of the capital, Mogadishu, on Friday.
The AU mission is yet to confirm the number of casualties although al-Shabab claims to have killed 137 soldiers.
In a statement released on Friday afternoon, ATMIS confirmed that the attack happened at around 5am targeting one of their forward operating bases(FOB) in Lower Shabelle region as the militants used vehicle borne improvised explosive devices and suicide bombers.
“Fighting between the terrorists and ATMIS soldiers ensued. Reinforcements from ATMIS Aviation unit and allies managed to destroy weapons in possession of the withdrawing militants,” the statement read in part.
Residents of the town are reported to have woken up to the sound of huge explosions and heavy weapons.
ATMIS, which has 22,000 troops, was assessing the security situation, it said on Twitter, without providing details. “The mission has been assisting Somalia’s federal government in its war against the al-Qaeda-linked armed group since 2022 when it replaced the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).”
ATMIST (formerly Amisom) has suffered a series of heavy losses in Somalia in its 18 year campaign to restore peace in the war Horn of Africa.
Earlier in April this year, Up to 46 Ugandan peacekeepers were killed in double suicide car bomb attack by Islamist militants.
Experts says that such attacks are designed to hasten the departure of Amisom.
Several troops contributing countries, including Uganda, Kenya and Burundi have lost soldiers and equipment to the militia seeking to impose Sharia rule since 2006.