The Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) said that a raid conducted on Friday resulted in the killing of 189 al-Shabaab fighters in an operation in Somalia.

In a telephonic interview with the Anadolu Agency, the army’s deputy spokesman Lt. Col. Deo Akiki said, “Today morning, a UPDF contingent under African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) has killed at least 189 al-Shabaab fighters in Somalia.”

“This is the biggest number of al-Shabaab fighters killed in a day,” he added.

Ugandan troops were the first to enter Somalia as part of the Africa Union’s peacekeeping force.

The UPDF said in a released statement that its soldiers raided al-Shabaab bases in the villages of Sigaale, Adimole, and Kayitoy, just over 62 miles southwest of the capital Mogadishu.

“The raid[…] saw the forces put out of action 189 al Qaeda-linked fighters and destroyed a number of military hardware and items used by the terrorist attacks,” UPDF statement read.

The UPDF added that it also raided an al-Shabaab meeting, injuring several terrorists in Doncadaafeedow which is four miles away from the Janaale town.

According to its website, African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) is an active, regional peacekeeping mission operated by the African Union with the approval of the United Nations. It was created by the African Union’s Peace and Security Council on 19 January 2007. Its initial six-months mandate has since been expanded. 

AMISOM currently has about 20,600 troops in Somalia, supporting the Somali government in its fight against Islamic extremism. Uganda, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Burundi, Kenya, Ghana, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria have contributed troops to the force. AMISOM is currently commanded by Lt. Gen. Diomede Ndegeya of Burundi. 

The United States has also been keeping the pressure on al-Shabaab, conducting several airstrikes on the group, whenever their leaders mass for a meeting or when planning an attack.

Casualty reports for AMISOM forces vary widely. Some analysts believing that the coalition has lost between 3,000 and 4,000 troops. But a report from Paul D. Williams says that the numbers of African Union troops killed in Somalia between March 2007 and December 2018 could be around 1,450 and 1,900.

There is yet to be any statement from al-Shabaab about the raid or the losses that they suffered.

The terrorist group, considered to be one of the most dangerous terrorist groups in the world, is trying to overthrow Somalia’s fledgling national government and impose its own harsh interpretation of Islamic Sharia law.

Al-Shabaab had controlled most of south-central Somalia until 2011 when African Union troops pushed them out of Mogadishu and into the country’s outlying areas. There the Somali government has little control or infrastructure.

However, al-Shabaab still carries out terrorist attacks, particularly IED attacks, targeting civilians. Following its attacks, it often claims outlandish casualty numbers for propaganda purposes.

Yet, the presence of African Union troops in Somalia does not come without problems. They have been accused of gang-raping and sexually exploiting women. ANISOM troops have also been accused of trading food aid for sex in Somalia. 

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