Al Shabaab militants in Somalia on Sunday killed 12 UPDF soldiers in an ambush on African Union troops in the country's south.
The insurgents claimed having killed 39 African Union troops in an ambush in the country's south.
A Monday statement by Brig Richard Karemire , the UPDF spokesman confirmed that a joint SNA/AMISOM UPDF patrol under 7th Battalion of Battle group twenty two was ambushed by Alshabaab terrorists.
"From the battlefield, it is now confirmed that UPDF lost 12 gallant soldiers with 07 sustaining injuries. The dead and those injured have been evacuated to Mogadishu Level II Hospital for further management and treatment," Brig Richard Karemire said in the statement.
He adds: "The UPDF office of Chief of Personnel and Administration is contacting the next of kin of the deceased and injured to inform them of the developments while arrangements are being made to transport deceased comrades to their homes of origin for descent burial."
Brig Karemire says a board of inquiry is being constituted to establish circumstances leading to this fateful incident. The same board of inquiry will help in expediting the compensation process by the African Union in respect of the deceased who gave their lives in defence of mother Africa.
The attack took place at Gorowen between Bulumaler and Beladamini in Lower Shabelle region about 140Kms South West of Mogadishu.
An earlier statement indicated that the troops equivalent of a company minus were conducting a regular patrol to secure the Mogadishu Barawe Main Supply Route (MSR) which still harbours pockets of Alshabaab insurgents.
“A lot of damage was inflicted on the enemy while our troops took fatalities whose number is yet to be ascertained and will be made known as the situation evolves,” Brig . Karemire’s said in the statement. “ We salute the gallant officers and men who have made sacrifices to ensure that peace is restored in Somalia. Such incidents that require at times our soldiers to pay the ultimate price will not deter our resolve to accomplish the mission.”
Ms Lindah Nabusayi, the press secretary to President Yoweri Museveni on Sunday retweeted a report by The Associated Press which put the number of soldiers who were killed in the attack at 8.
Local residents did confirm that fighting had taken place Sunday in the Lower Shebelle region, a hotly contested area where Al Shabaab's spokesman said they had staged their ambush.
"The mujahedeen fighters stood over the dead bodies of 39 soldiers, among them senior commanders”, Abdiaziz Abu Muzab told Andalus radio.
The African Union has a 22,000 strong force in the country dedicated to fighting A Shabaab and backing up the internationally backed government in the capital Mogadishu.
Residents said the AU troops were ambushed in the village of Golweyn some 120 kilometres (74 miles) as they escorted supplies along the road that connects Mogadishu to Lower Shebelle.
"Fighting broke out and continued for more than one hour", said Ali Osman, a witness to the battle.
In April, a minibus travelling through Golweyn hit a landmine, killing at least 14 people.
That attack was also blamed on Al Shabaab, which has fought successive governments in Mogadishu and also carried out attacks in Kenya and Uganda.