Uganda forces death toll at 54 after Somalia attack

By Laureen Fagan - 5 June 2023 at 8:35 pm
Uganda forces death toll at 54 after Somalia attack

At least 54 soldiers died in last month’s attack on Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces personnel serving in Somalia, according to findings from the investigation released at the weekend.

The attack occurred in the Lower Shabelle region of Somalia, about 120 kilometers southwest of Mogadishu, where Ugandan troops serve with an African Union peacekeeping mission, the UPDF said.

President Yoweri Museveni, in a statement issued Saturday, confirmed the fatalities after much speculation about the actual toll. The al-Shabaab extremists held accountable for the attack had claimed more than 130 UPDF members died.

The deadly attack on Bulo-Mareer appeared to cause a panic among the Ugandan forces despite the base being well-equipped and defended. Some 800 fighters were involved in attacking the Ugandans, leading many of the UPDF soldiers to withdraw to their next base nine kilometers away.

“These terrorists attempted another ill-fated attack on Baraawe Town, but our forces dealt a significant blow, forcing them to flee,” Museveni said.

Museveni said the investigation identified two commanders who ordered the soldiers to retreat. “They have been apprehended,” he said. The two will face courts martial hearings.

Although Museveni issued condolences to the families of those lost, he also offered sharp criticism of the UPDF response and said it was “criminal for anybody involved” to have forces placed there who were unprepared for their mission.

Image: Museveni file

Laureen Fagan

Laureen Fagan

Laureen is the editor of Africa Times

Laureen is a freelance journalist creating high-quality, informed content on international affairs, politics and technology. She has worked both in and out of newsrooms since 2000. She is a former paramedic with significant experience in community resilience and nonprofit community development initiatives, and maintains "a passion for action" on sustainability and climate change. She also is trained in conflict resolution and diversity, and has special interests in science and medical reporting, and culture and religion issues. Laureen received her MSJ from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism in the United States, and completed additional graduate study in theology at University of Notre Dame. Follow Laureen on Mastodon at

Leave a Reply


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.