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Bribery: Top UPDF Commander Arrested Over Al Shabaab Attack In Somalia

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UPDF commander arrested over Al Shabaab attack in Somalia The New Light Paper

According to President Museveni, one of the commanders present at the time of the Al Shabaab attack on a UPDF base in Somalia last week has been detained.

“One goes by the name of (Major) Okia. He is the one who gave the orders for the soldiers to flee. Therefore, he is in custody, Museveni declared during the Kyankwanzi retreat for the NRM Caucus.

More specifics

A UPDF forward operating post in Buulo Mareer, Lower Shabelle district, some 120 km southwest of Mogadishu, was attacked by Al Shabaab insurgents last week.

As a result of the raid, the UPDF and the militants engaged in fierce combat. The terrorists eventually overran the base, killing numerous Ugandan soldiers while also taking other soldiers hostage.

Since the Ugandan army and the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) decided to keep quiet about the details, including the number of victims, information on the attack has been limited.

But during the past week, President Museveni has subtly revealed information about the incident.

The president claimed that Ugandan soldiers at the base became anxious in a statement issued on Saturday night.

He continued by saying that the forward operating base had the necessary tools to use in order to capture the assailants.

“Despite being defended by light weapons, those defenses are surprisingly formidable. A 107mm Katyusha rocket launcher, two 14.5mm anti-aircraft guns, and two tanks were there. The Al-Shabaab used the disordered state of some of the soldiers present, who underperformed and panicked, to overtake the base and damage part of the equipment, the official added.

The president emphasized that the Ugandan army lost the facility due to blunders in his speech on Thursday.

“The terrorists fled, and we are now learning additional details about the error. The corruption is the main mistake, but we will learn more, he said.

He claimed that Maj. Okia, who is currently being detained, urged the soldiers to flee once the extremists struck.

The president mentioned Maj Okia’s prior employment at the army store.

Museveni charged certain UPDF commanders with sending their family members and cooks to Somalia earlier last week.

“..it appears that some of the organizers at some point listed the names of their bodyguards, personal helpers, and cooks. Instead of creating integral units, they construct something ad hoc. As the inquiry continues, you’ll see. If you travel to Somalia without a plan, you risk putting yourself in danger. Some of these people are only concerned with the financial rewards, not the success of their operation, Museveni stated.

“It appears that one of the suspicious elements in the affair may have been the corruption of some of these new army players once more. Someone told me that you might receive Shs38 million in a year when deployed to Somalia, where the UN offers generous allowances. Now, some of these individuals (we assume) who are choosing people to travel to Somalia are not acting morally as we were.

He claimed that in the past, deployments were made by selecting from combat units, but that at some point, all of this was abandoned and the commanders began choosing who to send out, with the majority of them being their friends and family.

Museveni claimed that they acted in this way because Al-Shabaab had been ‘silent’ for some time.

The root of the issue, he continued, is the placement of welfare recipients on war missions.

It was our own flaws that needed to be fixed, not Al-Shabaab. The practice of disobeying the NRA, the mercenary attitude of self-interest, and other factors, etc. We regret the passing,” Museveni continued.

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