Our soldiers involved in the DRC helicopter accident are recovering well - Gen. Kainerugaba

Some of the soldiers involved in the recent Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) helicopter crash are recovering, the Commander of the UPDF Land Forces, Lt Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba, has said.

A great bedside manner

A UPDF Mi-17 helicopter, mainly deployed for transportation, medical evacuation and VIP travel, that had just delivered food consignments to the troops engaged in Operation Shujaa in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo exploded during take-off.

This resulted in several soldiers dying instantly, while others sustained injuries and were later airlifted to Bombo Military Hospital, Uganda, for treatment.

On Friday, a team from land forces, led by the Chief of Staff, Brig Bob Ogiki, visited the injured soldiers.

Speaking about the visit, Kainerugaba said the officers are recovering well.

Our soldiers involved in the helicopter accident are making great progress and some have already been discharged. They have received excellent health care services at the General Military Hospital Bombo and in Kampala from our partner healthcare service providers,” Kainerugaba said.

A board of inquiry has instituted by President Yoweri Museveni, it is headed by the Uganda People’s Defence Air Force (UPDAF) Deputy Commander, Maj Gen Charles Okidi.

Its remit will be to investigate the incident in order to establish whether foul play of criminal negligence led to the loss of life and military arsenal.

The incident followed another UPDF chopper suffering an emergency landing on Saturday in Fort Portal, shortly after taking off from Saaka airfield.

The chopper has since been repaired by UPDF engineers and returned to the skies.

Several similar incidents have happened in the past, including two in February 2021, six days apart, involving a UPDF Jet Ranger that crashed near Lido Beach in Entebbe after take-off, killing a trainee.

Again, a chopper transporting AMISOM troops from Balidogle to Lower Shabelle region in Somalia crashed shortly after take-off. The four soldiers on board survived.

In January 2020, a UPDF jet ranger crashed in Butambala, killing two people, including Maj Naomi Kalungi and Cadet pilot Benon Wakola.

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