The leader of Uganda yesterday conceded that Muslim extremists in Somalia might have taken some of his country’s troops as prisoners and blamed his own commanders for being “asleep” in allowing a recent attack on an African Union base.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said that 19 soldiers were killed and six were missing following the Sept. 1 attack. The militant group al-Shabaab has said it killed 50 Ugandan soldiers at the base in Janale, 65km southwest of the Somalian capital, Mogadishu.
“It was the mistake of our own soldiers,” Museveni told a small group of reporters in Tokyo, where he was wrapping up a visit to discuss Uganda-Japan ties. “Our commanders were asleep, not alert. And we have suspended those commanders. They will face a court marital.”
Ugandan troops are part of an African Union Mission to Somalia to help the government fight al-Shabaab, which is allied with the al-Qaeda network.
The militants have been driven from Mogadishu and other strongholds, but still operate in some rural parts of the country and carry out deadly attacks. Museveni dismissed suggestions that they remain a potent force, attributing the success of the recent attack to Ugandan military weaknesses.
“They are not strong, al-Shabaab are bankrupt,” he said. “We shall defeat them. We have already defeated them.”
Ugandan troops are also supporting the government in neighboring South Sudan, where a fragile peace deal with rebels was signed last month. Museveni said his troops would pull out once there is no more threat, and justified the intervention as a way to prevent refugee crises like the ones engulfing the Middle East and Europe.
“You see how people are suffering in the Middle East, those who are sinking in the ocean. I saw on TV this morning the Hungarians throwing food at people as if they are dogs,” he said.
“We don’t want that to happen in a country like South Sudan, which is part of our people, he added.”
Museveni, one of the continent’s longest-serving presidents, also indicated he saw no need to keep pursuing anti-gay legislation that he signed last year, but was later thrown out by a court. The proposed law was widely criticized in the West, including by US President Barack Obama.
“That law was not necessary, because we already have a law, which was left by the British, which deals with this issue,” he said, referring to an anti-sodomy law that dates from the colonial era.
Museveni was in Japan to discuss economic and other issues. He called for more Japanese investment, trade and tourism in Uganda, to complement Japan’s development assistance for infrastructure projects. During his visit, the two countries signed a loan agreement for road improvement in Kampala, the Ugandan capital.
A coronavirus-free tropical island nestled in the northern Pacific might seem the perfect place to ride out a pandemic, but residents on Palau said that life right now is far from idyllic. The microstate of 18,000 people is among a dwindling number of places on Earth that still report zero cases of COVID-19 as figures mount daily elsewhere. The disparate group also includes Samoa, Turkmenistan, North Korea and bases on the frozen continent of Antarctica. A dot in the ocean hundreds of kilometers from its nearest neighbors, Palau is surrounded by the vast Pacific Ocean, which has acted as a buffer against the
Dutch scientists have found the coronavirus in a city’s wastewater before COVID-19 cases were reported, demonstrating a novel early warning system for the disease. SARS-CoV-2 — the virus that causes COVID-19 — is often excreted in an infected person’s stool. Although it is unlikely that sewage will become an important route of transmission, the pathogen’s increasing circulation in communities would increase the amount of it flowing into sewer systems, Gertjan Medema and colleagues at the KWR Water Research Institute in Nieuwegein said on Monday. They detected genetic material from the coronavirus at a wastewater treatment plant in Amersfoort on March 5, before
TRUE TOLL? Some Chinese are skeptical about official data, particularly given the overwhelmed medical system and initial attempts to cover up the outbreak The long lines and stacks of urns greeting family members of the dead at funeral homes in Wuhan, China, are spurring questions about the true scale of casualties at the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, renewing pressure on a Chinese government struggling to control its containment narrative. The families of those who succumbed to the coronavirus in the city, where the disease first emerged, were allowed to pick up their cremated ashes at eight funeral homes last week. As they did, photographs circulated on Chinese social media of thousands of urns being ferried in. Outside one funeral home, trucks shipped in about 2,500
KEEN INTEREST: India is trying to procure medical gear from domestic producers and abroad, and China has emerged as a possible supplier as its factories reopen India is to buy ventilators and masks from China to help it deal with COVID-19, a government official said yesterday, even though some countries in Europe had complained about the quality of the equipment. India has recorded 1,251 cases of the coronavirus, with 32 deaths, but health experts said the country of 1.3 billion people could see a major surge in cases that could overwhelm its weak public health system. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government said that it was trying to procure medical gear, including masks and body coveralls, both from domestic firms and from countries such as South Korea and