MPs Want Special Session on Chopper Crash

2624 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
A group of legislators want parliament to hold a special session to honour the fallen Uganda Air Force servicemen.

A group of legislators want parliament to hold a special session to honour the fallen Uganda Air Force servicemen.
Seven soldiers have been confirmed dead in the multiple helicopter crash in Mount Kenya ranges on Sunday night, while 21 others were rescued.
The MPs are now demanding that government gives accountability of the war against Al-shabab in Somalia and also explains the circumstances under which three MI-24 military helicopters went down.

Bugweri County MP Abdu Katuntu and Betty Nambooze, the Mukono Municipality legislator, say this was a war that Uganda chose to participate in, but not a single report has been made to since the country deployed up to 7000 soldiers in the war-torn Somalia. Katuntu says it is time Uganda reviewed its intention in Somali given the loss of lives and equipment. The MP was angry at the military for parading their soldiers on television on Sunday, the day the four choppers left for Somalia.

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Lwemiyaga MP Theodore Ssekikubo and his Buyaga counterpart Barnabas Tinkasiimire questioned why a commission would be set to investigate the crash yet the 2001 Ssebutinde Probe into the purchase of junk helicopters had not been acted on. Ssekikubo observes that the same people accused of shoddy deals have never been brought to book. General Salim Saleh, the man who confessed during the Ssebutinde probe that he got a bribe of 800,000 US dollars, is the same person government appointed to head the latest probe.

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The Justice Ssebutinde report in 2001 recommended the prosecution of Salim Saleh and former rally driver-turned businessman Emmanuel Kato. The report stated that General Saleh being a senior member of the UPDF and influential person in the decision to purchase the Mi-24 helicopters, agreed to receive for himself 800,0000 US dollars from Kato as an inducement for ensuring that the contract to supply aircraft was awarded to Consolidated Sales Corporation (CSC).

State Minister for Defence Jeje Odong insists that the choppers were in good condition and to the required standards.

In July 2005, the then Sudan Vice President and South Sudan leader, Lt. Gen. John Garang, died when a Ugandan presidential chopper MI-172 crashed in Imatong Hills killing seven people on board.

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.