Officials have revealed that two Uganda Peoples Defense Forces [UPDF] soldiers were severely injured in last Sunday’s assault that handed the coastal town of Barawe back to the Somali central government.
Preparations are underway to have to the two flown back in the country to receive medical treatment.
Army spokesperson Col Paddy Ankunda declined divulging the names and condition of the injured, on grounds that their next-of-kin were yet to be informed.
“That is our policy; normally we first break the news to their next of kin. We don’t want them to see this in the news, ” Ankunda told our reporter on Tuesday.
The coastal town of Barawe, 220 km southwest of the capital Mogadishu had remained in the control of Al-Qaida linked Al Shabaab militants since 1993.
The port city was key to the financing of the terror group and its capture has been described as a big blow to their operations.
Al-Shabaab reportedly charged taxes to ships that sailed or docked from Barawe’s port, raising revenues to expand its military campaign.
According to UPDF spokesperson Col Ankunda, the takeover of the town implied liberation of the whole sector under the Uganda contingent’s control in the AMISOM [Sector One].
“We think that this is a great achievement. Our soldiers were able to break in by 6 am on Monday morning, and they met no resistance,” said Ankunda.
“The capture of Barawe means that for Sector One, the Al shabaab are more or less a done deal. We hope that this will be a springboard to liberate sector two as well.”