Spokesperson: UPDF troops survived on urine after Al-Shabaab attack


MOGADISHU, Somalia - The horrors from the recent Al-Shabaab attack on Uganda People's Defense Forces [UPDF] base in Somalia on May 26 have been nothing short of dramatic scenes, entailing the fight for survival, self-defense, and pain which will be told for many years, at least for those who managed to survive.

Statistics given by UPDF showed at least 54 soldiers were killed in the horrific attack, with Al-Shabaab claiming that the numbers could be much higher, placing their figures at 137. At the time of the raid, UPDF confirmed, at least 221 soldiers were present but some rushed to a neighboring base while others managed to hide in Bulo Marer.

But of those who hid in Bulo Marer, UPDF spokesperson Brigadier General Felix Kulaigye told VOA, they at least had to wait for six days of agony before being rescued. The journey to retake the base was long and tedious since the militants literally seized it.

Of the four soldiers who were rescued from the base including a Lieutenant, they were extremely tired and had to survive on their own urine, since there was no food and water after the rampage. They were hiding alone and in separate locations.

"When we recovered, they were weak because they were only surviving on urine," Kulaigye said. "They were weak out of hunger," he said.

"The lieutenant had been wounded, his leg was in bad shape, and they have been treated in hospital, but they are promising to recover very well."

For assessment, Land Forces Commander Lieutenant General Kayanja Muhanga has arrived in Mogadishu to conduct independent investigations. But even before the outcome, two commanders have been condemned to court martial after it emerged that they ordered soldiers to run away.

The Al Shabaab militant group on Monday published a video purportedly from the raid on the UPDF base. In the video, Al Shabaab Leader Ahmed Umar Abu Ubaidah, whose face is blurred, sends off the attackers.

It is not the first time the militants are on a military base. In 2016, they attacked Kenya Defence Forces [KDF] Forward Operating Base in El-Adde, killing at least 200 soldiers and the following year, the Kenyan contingent lost 70 soldiers in Kulbiyow. But the gains have been immense since the peacekeepers have managed to liberate several towns.


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