The Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) has broken silence on the shooting incident in Somalia, warning its combatants have a right of self defence once fired upon.
Three Somali soldiers were killed as they tried to block an Amisom convoy led by Uganda Contingent Commander Brig Paul Lokech this past Friday.
The convoy of nine Amisom armored vehicles had rushed to the presidential palace after Al Shabaab fighters detonated explosives in the and opened fire on civilians.
The Somali Security accused Brig Lokech of refusing to comply with their instructions at the checkpoint and ordering the shooting that felled three Somali forces.
Defence Spokesman Brig Richard Karemire explained to ChimpReports on Monday morning that Amisom forces “acted in self defence” when they came under attack as they returned to their base.
“You shoot at us; you become a legitimate target,” said Brig Karemire,” adding, “Our people acted in self defence.”
Asked why Lokech didn’t exercise caution, Karemire said, “You never know who is shooting at you in Somalia.”
He also wondered why the Amisom-branded convoy could be blocked from its area of operations.
“Nobody can mistake us for anything else. We were rushing back with victims of the attack to hospital,” he emphasised.
Brig Karemire confirmed that Brig Lokech was in the convoy.
“He was the one that responded fast to reinforce when the Alshabab threatened to attack State House,” said Karemire.
“There is absolutely no reason why the AMISOM forces in their designated sector should have been blocked and fired at enroute back to base after providing support and with some victims of the attack being evacuated for urgent medical attention,” he emphasised.
It’s widely feared Al Shabaab could use the incident for propaganda purposes.
It could as well affect the civil military relations in Amisom’s area of operations.
Brigadier Karemire said, “As the incident is being investigated, let is be clear that AMISOM rules of engagement provide for self defence and any one who fires at these forces become a target.”