Kenya deployed its troops in Somalia in 2011 five years later than Uganda, which had sent its troops in 2006. But for Uganda it did not get off smoothly.
Media sources indicate there was fairly loud opposition to sending Uganda’s women and men to Somalia.
Finally, those in favour won and rigorous training to the soldiers at the three levels of war craft: strategic, operational and tactical began
Uganda defense forces had to prepare for war fighting, not peacekeeping.
It is in Somalia that at least 38,000 American troops withdrew after two of their UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters were gunned down by militia using RPGs. Three of the soldiers’ onboard were killed and others captured alive.
It was reported that about 18 Special Forces soldier’s bloodied bodies were dragged through the streets of Mogadishu in broad day light.
It was all too much for America to bear and was forced to pull out by both the tragedy of those deaths and the very intensity of opposition it faced from locals.
To prepare Ugandan soldiers psychologically for what lay ahead, the first contingent were shown the very graphic Black Hawk Down movie.
Black Hawk Down is an intense war movie depicting some very life-like and gory scenes of close-quarter combat with a blood thirsty and relentless enemy. It detailed what happened in the fateful day where 18 US soldiers were killed.
“It is after watching, that some of them refused to go. They thought going to Somalia at that time was committing suicide,” One soldier Tom Okidi, who went to Somalia with the first battle group, said.