A Ugandan military court has delivered a verdict, finding two officers, Majors Zadock Abor and John Oluka, guilty of cowardice during a harrowing attack by Islamist fighters on an African Union base in Somalia this past May.
The incident occurred in Bulo Marer, located south of the capital Mogadishu, where the officers reportedly fled when confronted by the militants of al-Shabab.
Tragically, at least 50 Ugandan soldiers lost their lives during the attack, according to officials.
Uganda is a vital member of the African Union force, known as Atmis, which has been actively supporting the Somali government in its relentless battle against al-Shabab, an extremist group affiliated with al-Qaeda.
The assault on Bulo Marer marked one of the deadliest encounters for the African Union force since the commencement of their recent offensive against al-Shabab last year.
Uganda’s President, Yoweri Museveni, expressed dissatisfaction with the military’s response to the attack. The Ugandan military court, based in Mogadishu, heard compelling evidence that the officers had received prior warnings about an impending assault but failed to take adequate measures to thwart it.
READ ALSO: South Africa Recalls Diplomats From Israel Amid Rising Tension
As al-Shabab insurgents descended upon the base, the two officers displayed an apparent lack of leadership by not rallying their troops and opting to retreat to another base instead. Consequently, both Majors Abor and Oluka have been discharged from the army as a result of their actions.
Furthermore, the military court has also found four non-commissioned officers guilty of negligence in safeguarding military equipment during the attack.
The African Union force, comprising around 19,000 personnel, was first deployed to Somalia in 2007 and played a crucial role in expelling al-Shabab from numerous urban areas.
Their mission was intended to transfer security responsibilities to Somalia’s government forces, with plans to withdraw from the country next year.
However, the offensive against al-Shabab has faced setbacks, and the extremist group still retains control over numerous rural regions in the country.