The Ugandan army is optimistic they can get assistance in form of equipment and technology to help them deal with the problem of Improvised Explosive Devices used by Al Shabaab militants in Somalia.
A number of UPDF soldiers have been killed during attacks by Al Shabaab militants using Improvised Explosive Devices in Somalia, the latest being the attack on an AMISOM UPDF Forward Operating Base in Bulomarer in the Lower Shabelle region on Easter Sunday.
A group of over 500 Al Shabaab militants using two Vehicle-Borne Improvised Explosive Devices (VBIED) attacked the base before the bombs went off killing a number of the Ugandan army soldiers.
Fast forward, on Thurdsay, a contingent from the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) led by Brig Gen Itai Veruv met with Gen. David Muhoozi, the Chief of Defence Forces for the UPDF at the Ministry of Defence headquarters in Mbuya.
According to the army spokesperson, Brig.Richard Karemire, the head of the Israel delegation hailed the UPDF on its successful mission in Somalia and said the Israel government would continue sharing experiences because of the relationship both countries have built over the years.
“We exchanged ideas on opportunities available in broadening cooperation in areas of defence industries as well as well as sharing experiences in fighting terrorism,”Brig.Karemire said.
The army spokesperson said during the meeting at Mbuya, the Ugandan army leadership and their counterparts from Israel exchanged information in regards to the AMISOM operations with a view of getting assistance from Israel.
“One of the challenges we continue we continue to face is the issue of IEDs that target our convoys yet Israel has some technologies that can be shared with us and becomes a deterrent against the devices,”Brig.Karemire said.
“We hope to sign a memorandum of understanding with the Israel government and this will clearly spell out the areas like training and exchange of teams so we can learn from each other as a way of building capacity and cement cooperation.”
During the April attacks, Al Shabaab insurgents used Improvised Explosive Devices to burst through UPDF barracks checkpoints before the marauding militants attacked the bases from nearly all directions and opened onslaughts in a bid to advance and overrun the bases.
The security situation in Somalia, especially in the Lower Shabelle region remains volatile since the Al Shabaab insurgents were sent out of the capital, Mogadishu.
Uganda is the biggest contributor of troops to the 22,000-strong AMISOM force since 2007 contributing roughly 80% of the number.
Other countries with troops in Somalia are Kenya, Burundi, Somalia, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Sierra Leone.