238 police officers fail exams for foreign mission jobs

By Robert Ssegawa
A total of 238 police officers have failed the preliminary exams for jobs on foreign mission in Somalia.
On Tuesday, 587 Uganda Police officers sat for the African Union Pre -Assessment for Assistance Mission Service exams in Kampala but according to the list released on Wednesday, 349 passed the exam. Vincent Sekate the police public relations officer in charge of Peace and support directorate says successful officers  have undergone a driving test at the Luzira Prisons grounds today Thursday.
They will later sit for interviews in May conducted by a team from African Union head offices in Addis Ababa. This interview  will sieve candidates before they are deployed for African Union missions around the continent.

Museveni says only 8 soldiers were killed in Somalia attack on AMISOM base

President Yoweri Museveni has revealed that eight Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) soldiers died following an Alshabab attack in Somalia on Easter Sunday.

The revelation contradicts what the UPDF Spokesperson Brigadier Richard Karemire had said that four soldiers had died in a statement issued on Sunday evening.

The president explained that two vehicles of the enemy force entered one of the three sites attacked. “One vehicle was detonated and killed eight of our soldiers. May their souls rest in eternal peace. I extend condolences to their families.”

The President, using his official Twitter handle @KagutaMuseveni, also said the UPDF had killed 36 al-shabaab militants contrary to the 22 stated by the UPDF spokesperson in Kampala and 30 as stated by the UPDF spokesperson in Somalia, Ceaser Olweny.

The Alshabab raided the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) base at Quoryole, Bulomareer and Golwein in Lower Shabelle region in Somalia.

Buulo Mareer is located some 130 kilometres southwest of the capital Mogadishu.

Eight vehicles including two vehicle born improvised explosives were destroyed by AMISOM forces.

President Museveni praised the army for foiling what he called “the bold but adventurous strategy of Al-Shabaab.”  He said the AMISOM force was alert, the reason they managed to repulse the enemy.

“With constant vigilance, victory is assured. I congratulate our soldiers for the good work they did yesterday, the death of eight of our soldiers notwithstanding,” he said.

Called to comment on the statement by the President, Brigadier Richard Karemire said the additional deaths were from those who sustained injuries. He says by the time the army said four were dead they were four, but some who were injured have since died.

Karemire could not specify the day of the other deaths.

According to Karemire some soldiers had sustained injuries, but currently six UPDF soldiers remain injured, the same number he had given in the initial statement on Sunday evening, signed by his deputy, Lt Col Deo Akiiki.

Just like it happened with previous attacks, there has been conflicting figures on the number of dead and injured on both sides, with different media sources quoting different numbers.

The UK’s Guardian online reports that at least 46 UPDF soldiers were killed in double car bomb suicide attacks, quoting local officials in Mogadishu. The report quotes Abdi Nur Hashi, a Somali military colonel who also said one Somali soldier had died and several others were injured.

The New York Times and Reuters give a much high number of causality figures, with both saying 59 Amisom soldiers were killed in the attack.

The special representative of the chairperson of the African Union Commission for Somalia, Francisco Madeira in a press statement issued on April 2 says at least 30 al-shabaab militants were killed, while four soldiers of Amisom were killed and six sustained injuries.

Karemire had insisted that the number of soldiers he gave out was the correct one.

The situation is similar to the one after the July 30, 2017 attack when UPDF said it had lost 12 soldiers while the militants said it had killed 39 Ugandan soldiers.

In September 2015, al-shabaab militants carried out an attack at the Amisom base in Janaale district in Somalia with reports indicating that 50 AMISOM soldiers had died, while the Somali military said 37 soldiers died.

The UPDF disputed this through the then spokesperson Paddy Ankunda who tweeted that the estimates of more than 50 deaths were a fabrication, insisting later that only 10 Ugandan soldiers had been killed in Somalia.

Days later, however, President Museveni who was on a visit to Japan told the media that 19 Ugandan soldiers had been killed in the Janaale attack, adding that six others were in action.

Uganda was the first country to deploy in Somalia in 2007 and contributes the biggest contingent of the 22,000-strong Amisom force.

The African Union plans to scale down its force and gradually hand over security operations to the Somali national army by 2020.



AMISOM soldier remanded to Makindye Military barracks

By Sania Babirye

A soldier attached to the AMISOM peace keeping mission in Somalia has been charged with failure to protect war materials after he was found in possession of guns illegally.

34 year old Lance Corporal Musa Tembo has been charged by the general court martial chairman Lt Gen Andrew Gutti.

He however denied the charges and has been remanded to the Makindye Military barracks until 15th of May 2017 for mention of his case.

Prosecution states that on the 16th of February 2016 while at Ballawe camp in Somalia, the accused was found in illegal possession of 21 rounds of ammunition of SMG as well as 47 rounds of a PK gun.

Photo Credit: Human Rights Watch

AMISOM to keep in Somalia for 10 more months

The United Nations Security Council has authorized the extension of the African Union Mission in Somalia- AMISOM for an additional 10 months, until 30 May 2017.

The decision follows the Secretary General’s recommendation that conditions in the Horn of Africa country would not be appropriate for the deployment of a United Nations peacekeeping mission.

The council mandated the African Union mission to take all measures, as appropriate; to reduce the threat posed by Al-Shabaab and other armed opposition groups and provide security to facilitate the political process at all levels, enabling the gradual handover of security responsibilities to Somalia’s security forces.

Council members stated that progress in degrading Al-Shabaab’s capacity to launch attacks, as well as improving the capacity of Somali forces to sustain control of recaptured areas, could enable a gradual reduction of AMISOM’s role in the country.

Under a unanimously adopted resolution, the council maintained AMISOM’s troop deployment at a maximum level of 22,126 troops.

Uganda remains the biggest contributor to AMISOM with the largest contingent of 6,223 troops. Burundi is the second-largest contributor to AMISOM, with 5,432 troops.

The council requested that the mission strengthens its presence in all capitals of Interim Regional Administrations in order to improve joint planning between military and civilian components in preparation for the electoral process in 2016.

AMISOM was also tasked to secure key supply routes, including to areas recovered from Al-Shabaab, in particular those essential to improving the humanitarian situation, and those critical for AMISOM’s logistical support.

The resolution also calls on the African Union to investigate and report allegations of violations and abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law, as well as continuing to ensure the highest standards of transparency, and conduct and discipline.



Ugandan troops arrested in Somalia selling AMISOM equipment

Somali Security Forces have arrested five AU soldiers and ten other people who were involved in selling equipment, belonging to the African Mission in Somalia-AMISOM, at a garage in Hodan district, Benadir region.

“We arrested five AMISOM soldiers and ten Somali nationals who were selling tools by the AU troops here in Mogadishu…. sandbags for defense, telephones, weapon storage devices and fuel”,  Somali Police Commissioner Major General Mohamed Hassan is quoted by the Somali News Agency.

He said the soldiers were from Uganda and Burundi but declined to reveal their identities.

This is the first time the Somali government has arrested AU peacekeeping troops found in activities against their mission in the country. The multidimensional mission is mandate to pacify Somalia by reducing the threat posed by Al Shabaab and other armed opposition militia in the Horn of Africa country.

Somali Minister of Internal Security Abdirisak Omar Mohamed said the act is criminal and offensive.  “This is a criminal act which the government will not accept, but will pursue and take proper action against,” he said.

Amisom has, through its twitter handle, acknowledged the arrest of its troops and hastened to add that investigations are ongoing to establish the veracity of the claims.