The Observer has also learnt from a reliable military source that more soldiers have died from injuries sustained in the devastating attack last week that claimed the life of Lt Col Patrick Sibihwa and five others. That brings to 13 the number of UPDF soldiers killed in that attack.Unlike his last visit back in November 2010 that was publicised, but only after he had returned to Uganda, the Saturday visit was kept a secret until now. Museveni’s daring stop-over came on the heels of the killing of Fazul Mohammed, the Al Qaeda chief in East Africa, by the Somali forces.Fazul, believed to have masterminded the twin bombings of the US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam in 1998, was the most wanted African man after the US put a $5 million bounty on his head. Al Shabaab, the Somali-based militant group affiliated to Al Qaeda, has vowed to avenge his death.Jolted by the manner in which the UPDF were attacked, and the magnitude of the loss, Museveni decided to make drastic changes.In a communication to the Chief of Defence Forces, the commander in chief also promoted Col Michael Ondoga, currently attending a military course, to the rank of Brigadier, rewarding him for his exemplary command and handling of the terrorist offensive in Mogadishu last year while he was in charge of the Ugandan troops in Somalia.The fact that Museveni chose to remove Maj Gen Nathan Mugisha immediately and praise his predecessor at the same time suggests that he was dissatisfied with the way his men handled the latest attack.However, other military sources have revealed that Nathan Mugisha’s tour of duty ended in April. According to this source, Museveni is happy with the military gains in Somalia so far, but concerned about lack of progress on the political front.His appointment of Nathan Mugisha as a diplomat is, therefore, seen by this source as an attempt to hasten political progress. UPDF soldiers came under attack during operations against insurgents who still control as much as 50% of Mogadishu, notwithstanding recent TGF and AMISOM gains.The attack, in a part of the war-torn city known as “Bondere district”, left Lt Col Sibihwa, Lt Lawrence Tugume, Cpl Abdalla Isabirye, Pte Augustine Kuloba, Pte Ismail Mugisha and Pte Geoffrey Atopi dead on the spot. Another seven soldiers who were injured in the same attack have since died in hospital.These have been identified as: Lt Wilson Agaba, S/sgt Paul Bamwine, Pte Peter Okello, Pte Peter J. Anguyo, Pte Micheal Wasajja, Pte Paul Ochaya and Pte Grace Alanyo. Uganda has an estimated 5,000 soldiers stationed in Somalia. Burundi has an estimated 3,000 or so men.Recently, Somali leaders met in Kampala to discuss the transition in Somalia and it was agreed that the current government gets a one-year extension in order to consolidate the gains so far made with the help of AMISOM.The transitional government’s term expires on August 23, 2011, a situation that has created a political impasse after the parliament extended its mandate for three years.Museveni told the international meeting on Somalia that it would be a “win-win situation for all parties” to extend the current Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo TFG’s mandate for a period not exceeding one year.
Obama urged to support democratic change in Somalia
“We hope that the US government will come to the side of democracy and parliamentary inclusion... with respect to the future of the TFG,” says John Zagame, vice president of Park Strategies more