By Risdel Kasasira
Monday, June 06, 2011
Kampala - A senior commander of Uganda Battle Group Six has been killed in an attack by the al-Shabaab militants in the Somali capital, Mogadishu. According to military sources, the Lieutenant Colonel was killed on Saturday with five other tank crew members including a Lieutenant. The commander is the highest ranking Ugandan officer to be killed in Somalia. This newspaper withheld the name and other details of the deceased pending army’s notification of the relatives of the deceased, which is expected today.
The Amisom force commander, Maj. Gen. Nathan Mugisha, confirmed the incident last night, saying the colonel was killed while supervising the new areas captured by the Ugandan peacekeepers on Thursday.
“It was a mishap. It’s regrettable,” Gen. Mugisha, who was last night in Kampala after attending the 19th International Contact Group on Somalia conference in Kampala, said. He said the Colonel was killed in Bondhere, where there was intense fighting on Thursday morning.
Warnings from Museveni
The attack comes days after President Museveni warned that Uganda would withdraw its troops from Mogadishu if UN-pushed presidential and parliamentary elections in Somalia spark renewed assault by al-Shabaab militants.
President Museveni told the conference that the mandate of the Sheik Sharif-led Transitional Federal Government - due to expire in two months - should instead be extended by a year. Gen. Mugisha said they would give details of the attack today.
The UPDF officers were reportedly killed by a mortar fired by the al-Shabaab who are fighting to recapture the areas newly captured by the Ugandan forces.
UPDF soldiers on Thursday captured key strategic areas that have been used by the Somali extremists to supply arms and food to their members.