Ugandan military officials said they have had no trouble finding recruits willing to go to Somalia, despite the dangers. “It has stepped up our credibility in the region, and any soldier would be very proud to be part of the mission,” said Col. J.B. Ruhesi, the Ugandan commander of the Singo training camp.
Financial incentives also play a major role. The African Union pays troops about $1,000 a month to serve in Somalia — quintuple the usual salaries for many enlisted Ugandan soldiers.
Ugandan military officials said about 80 of their troops have been killed in Somalia since 2007, although analysts suspect the number of casualties has been far higher.
A leading cause of death for the African Union troops in Somalia has been homemade bombs — al-Shabab’s weapon of choice. U.S. trainers said they recently upgraded their course of instruction to help recruits learn how to avoid the explosives.