Four Uganda Air Force servicemen are still missing almost four days after their helicopter went missing in Kenya en-route to Somalia. Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) on Tuesday morning confirmed discovered another body of a Ugandan soldier bringing the number of dead soldiers to three. Two bodies had earlier on Tuesday been found.
The chopper, part of three MI-24 aircraft, went down in the Mount Kenya area on Sunday evening on their way to beef up an African Union military offensive against the Al Shabaab militants in the Somali port city of Kismayu. The forth aircraft, an MI-17, made it safely to Garissa, a Northeastern Kenyan town where they were all scheduled to re-fuel before going for combat.
Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) on Tuesday morning confirmed discovered another body of a Ugandan soldier bringing the number of dead soldiers to three. Two bodies had earlier on Tuesday been found. The third body was found in the wreckage of a burnt chopper, according to KDF. Kenyan military spokesperson Bogita Ongeri, however, told the media that the military was not able to retrieve the body due to unfriendly weather and fear of explosives from the aircraft that was believed to be armed at the time of the crash.
When contacted over the new developments, UPDF spokesperson Felix Kulayigye said he was yet to verify the information with the Kenyan forces. The Kenyan military continue to search for four other missing soldiers after rescuing 8 soldiers on Tuesday.
On Tuesday morning, Kulayigye identified the two dead soldiers as Spear Leti from Arua and Patrick Nahamya from Western Uganda.
The government has already instituted a commission of inquiry headed by General Salim Saleh to establish the cause of the multiple helicopter crash on Sunday.
Uganda has had a history of military air disasters including the July 2005 crash in which the then Sudan Vice President and South Sudan leader, Lt. Gen. John Garang, died. The presidential chopper MI-172 crashed in Imatong Hills and killing seven people on board including Garang.
In December 1983, a Bell 412 helicopter carrying the then Army Chief of Staff, Maj Gen David Oyite Ojok, crashed in Ngoma, Luweero on its way to fight National Resistance Army rebels led by Yoweri Museveni.