Barawe, Somalia| URN | The Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) operating under the African Union Peace Keeping Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) last week repulsed two attacks on their bases by the militant group Al-Shabaab.
Speaking to scribes at the Uganda Media Centre yesterday 27th, April 2020, Brig. Richard Karemire, the spokesperson of the UPDF and the Ministry of Defense said even as the country is focusing on the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Uganda, elsewhere the army is deployed and have not lost focus of their other traditional roles.
He said even without the coronavirus pandemic that is also ravaging Somalia like it is doing in Uganda, the Al-Shabaab that is intent at overthrowing the Federal government of Somalia normally intensifies attacks during Islam’s holy month of Ramadhan.
Karemire added that on Sunday, two mortal bombs were launched towards the UPDF Mogadishu base although like in the Saturday attack, there were no injuries registered.
“The troops remain very vigilant especially during this period of Ramadhan to ensure that they don’t get injured or killed at the hands of the Al-Shabaab elements that remain active,” said Karemire.
UPDF that currently has 5,579 troop presence has been in Somalia since 2007 as part of the African peace keeping mission although countries like the United States of America and organizations like the European Union that majorly bankroll AMISOM have called for accelerated withdrawal.
Troop contributing countries like Uganda have resisted the move saying it will work against the gains they have made against the Al-Shabaab.
Meanwhile, Karemire on the domestic front expressed concern over the increased breach of the county’s borders by refugees who enter the country through the districts of Hoima, Kikuube, Bundibugyo, Ntoroko among others.
He said although Uganda has an open door policy towards refugees, during this time of the global coronavirus outbreak, the country’s borders were shut to all human movement both within and without.
“The defeat of corona is now eminent although we can’t tell when this war will end which requires us to continue fighting together. There is a lot of hope that if we continue adhering to the guidelines, there is no doubt in my mind that this war will be over,” said Karemire.
As part of their fight, the army publicist added that they have composed a song which they will be soon releasing. “We appeal to all media houses to ensure that this song reaches as deep as possible in all corners of our country,” he added.