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UPDF names Somalia blast victims

By Vision Reporter

Added 20th May 2007 03:00 AM

THE four Ugandan peacekeepers who were killed in a bomb blast in Somalia last week have been named. They are Ojok Kilama Lagole of Gulu district, Julius Peter Ongu of Pader district, Frederick Wanda of Kamuli and Osbert Tugume of Bushenyi. All were privates.

THE four Ugandan peacekeepers who were killed in a bomb blast in Somalia last week have been named. They are Ojok Kilama Lagole of Gulu district, Julius Peter Ongu of Pader district, Frederick Wanda of Kamuli and Osbert Tugume of Bushenyi. All were privates.

By Alfred Wasike
and Chris Ahimbisibwe

THE four Ugandan peacekeepers who were killed in a bomb blast in Somalia last week have been named. They are Ojok Kilama Lagole of Gulu district, Julius Peter Ongu of Pader district, Frederick Wanda of Kamuli and Osbert Tugume of Bushenyi. All were privates.

The identities were announced yesterday at the Media Centre in Kampala by defence state minister Ruth Nankabirwa, the chief of military intelligence Col. Leo Kyanda and army spokesperson Maj. Felix Kulayigye.

Wanda and Tugume were yesterday buried at their ancestral homes in Sheema, Bushenyi and Bugabula respectively with full military honour. In attendance were government officials.

Ojok is to be buried in Awach internally displaced people’s camp in Gulu district.
Meanwhile at the burial of Mugume in Shuuku sub-county, the mood was saturated with emotion as relatives and fellow villagers wailed.

He was buried near his incomplete house. As six soldiers carried his body to the grave at 3:00pm, a gun salute rocked the atmosphere. His uncle Charles Rwaheru told hundreds of mourners that Tugume was born in 1983 and studied in Nyakisinga Central Primary School up to P7. He said both his parents passed away and he brought him up.

Rwaheru said Tugume worked briefly as a matooke seller in Kabwohe town before he joined the army on January 22, 2003.

“He was a very responsible boy. He is married to Edith and they have a six-month baby boy whom he had not yet baptised.”

While Tugume was at Gadaffi Barracks preparing to leave for Somalia, he gave the uncle his bank details including his ATM card so he could get money to help his family and build for him a house.
Capt. George Katabu, on behalf of the army, described Tugume as a hero and handed sh1.2m in condolence.

The soldiers were serving under AMISON, or the African Union mission trying to pacify Somalia. Addressing journalists, Nankabirwa recalled that the Ugandan peace-keepers were killed on May 16, after a roadside bomb exploded in Hamr-Weyn, near the old sea port. Five soldiers were seriously injured, she said. The wounded were evacuated to Nairobi for emergency treatment, Nankabirwa added.

“The roadside bomb that had been placed on a garbage heap was controlled from a nearby empty building. One suspect was immediately arrested on the spot by the Transitional Federal Government forces.”
She said UPDF commanders had analysed the incident and designed a plan to ensure maximum security of the soldiers in Somalia.

The UPDF force which was attacked was patrolling an area where it had not been before, Nankabirwa said, adding that investigations had not yet linked Al-Qaeda to the fatal blast. “This roadside bomb, therefore, may not have been specifically targeted at them.”

Meanwhile, the AU has released $1.8m in allowances for the Ugandan contingent, Nankabirwe revealed.

“Compensation for our late comrades will be promptly effected. These are allowances at $400 per month, about $12 for food per day and others.”
She stated that the USA was not funding the UPDF directly but had contributed to a joint AU fund for AMISOM.

The UPDF deployed in Mogadishu as part of AMISOM to protect the transitional government and help create conditions for reconciliation in Somalia. The UPDF was the only one which sent 1,500 troops out of the 8,000 needed. Burundi, Ghana, Malawi and Nigeria, which also promised to deploy, are yet to do so.

Yesterday, Nankabirwa argued that the UPDF was not alone in Somalia but being helped by the Ethiopian forces that ousted the Islamic Courts which had taken over most of the country. “The AU and UN have agreed that Ethiopian forces will not leave until the promised AMISOM forces from the other countries arrive.”
She said the UPDF had gained the confidence of the local population.

Kyanda added that the UPDF had been receiving many weapons from local militia and the business community who opted for voluntary disarmament.

Meanwhile, yesterday in the Somali capital, a roadside bomb said to be targeting the Mogadishu mayor, killed two people and wounded two others, officials said.

UPDF names Somalia blast victims

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