A plane carrying the bodies of peacekeepers killed in Somalia touched down at Uganda’s Entebbe International Airport on Wednesday as wailing family members mourned their loved ones.
Twelve Ugandan peacekeepers were killed and nine others injured by Somali militant group Al-Shabaab on Sunday while on patrol.
As a military band played heroic songs, the caskets wrapped with the country’s national flag were offloaded.
The country’s top military brass, ministry of defense officials and family members lined up to receive the bodies.
The bodies were transferred to a waiting ambulance and transported to Bombo Military Hospital, about 70 km away.
Brig. Richard Karemire, Uganda’s military spokesperson, told reporters that the death of their colleagues will not deter them from eliminating the militant group.
“We are not going to chicken out and pull out. There is a reason why we went to Somalia. All these deaths and injuries we expected them. When you go for war anything can happen,” Karemire said.
“This mission requires a lot of effort. There will always be a price to pay,” he added, noting that the mission of eliminating the militant group has to be accomplished.
The Ugandan military on Tuesday appointed a board to inquire into the circumstances surrounding the fateful incident.
Uganda contributes some 6,500 soldiers to the 22,000 African Union peacekeeping force deployed in Somalia.