UPDF officers prepare to carry the coffin bearing Donald Okumu’s remains
By Henry Mukasa and Caleb Bahikaho
THE UPDF soldiers killed in a suicide attack in Somalia last week were on Monday buried in their respective homes. WOII Donald Okumu from Nebbi, Staff Sgt. George Wabomba of Manafwa, Cpl. David Turyasingura from Rukungiri and Lance Cpl. George Ahimbisibwe of Kanungu were killed when Al Shabab militants attacked the African Union mission base in Mogadishu on September 17. They were part of the Ugandan Battle Group (UGABAG) IV which was deployed in volatile Somalia two weeks before the attack, to replace their colleagues who returned home. At separate funerals, the army described the diseased as heroes who died in the line of duty. Col. Dick Okumu, who represented the army at the burial of WOII Okumu in Parombo in Nebbi district, said: “We are proud of him because while many others fear to go to Somalia, the deceased did not.” He said Okumu, 42, and his colleagues were a shining example of the brotherhood Uganda shares with Somalia. “Their death was caused by a cowardly act of international terrorists. They died while trying to bring peace to the world,” Okumu eulogised. Okumu is survived by a widow, Doreen Akumu and five children. The eldest, a fifteen-year boy, is in S.3. In Rukungiri, the chief of defence forces, Gen. Aronda Nyakairima, described Turyasingura as a patriotic soldier. In a eulogy presented by the commander of the 2nd Division, Col. James Kinobe, Aronda noted that Turyasingura was an inspiration to the youth to join the army. Fred Bihegye, Turyasingura’s elder brother, said Turyasingura joined the army at the age of 16. “He has been on peace missions in many countries including the DR Congo and Sudan,” Bihegye explained. Turyasingura, 34, was buried at his home in Kagarama in Buyanja. A total of 14 peacekeepers, including Maj. Gen. Juvenal Niyonguruza from Burundi, were killed. Niyonguruza was the mission deputy commander.