By Ebi Kesiena
Two Ugandan military officers have been found guilty of cowardice by a military court in Uganda for their actions during an attack by Islamist fighters on an African Union base in Somalia in May.
According to reports, Colonel Deo Akiki and Major John Oluka reportedly fled the scene when the al-Shabab militants attacked the Atmis base in Bulo Marer, resulting in the death of at least 50 Ugandan soldiers.
Uganda is part of the African Union force aiding Somalia’s government in combating the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Shabab.
The incident at Bulo Marer base marked one of the deadliest encounters for the African Union force since its recent offensive against al-Shabab.
Reacting, President Yoweri Museveni criticized the military’s response, stating that the officers were aware of the impending attack but failed to take appropriate action.
The military court in Mogadishu heard that the officers did not effectively lead their troops during the attack and instead retreated to another base.
As a result of their actions, both officers have been dismissed from the army. Additionally, four non-commissioned officers were found guilty of negligence in protecting military equipment.
Although, the African Union force, comprising 19,000 troops, was deployed to Somalia in 2007, contributes to the expulsion of al-Shabab from numerous cities.
However, the offensive against al-Shabab has stalled but the group still controls many rural parts of the country.