Uganda Peoples Defence Forces--UPDF says they are reluctant to send more military helicopters to Somalia to support operations against the Al-Shabaab.
Speaking to the press at the military headquarters in Mbuya today, Lt Col Paddy Ankunda, the UPDF spokesperson said the army had not been compensated for the choppers they lost in Kenyan Airspace last year while on AMISOM duty.
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Uganda lost three attack helicopters after they crashed in the Kenya Mountains in August last year. They were enroute to Somalia to conduct a final offensive on the then Al-shabaab held port city of Kismayo. Following the chopper crash, efforts went underway to secure compensation from the United Nations but to date the UN has not compensated the UPDF for the loss.
The three MI-24 helicopters had been flying to Somalia through Kenya when they crashed in the Kenya Mountains killing 7 servicemen and wounding 21 others.
After the crash, an investigation team headed by General Salim Saleh was set up to establish the facts surrounding their movements. However, the findings of the investigation have never been released to date, though top Air force commanders, Major General Jim Owoyesigire and Brigadier Moses Rwakitarate, were shuffled shortly after the crash. General Saleh has been quoted in the media saying he completed the report and handed it over to President Yoweri Museveni.
Ankunda now says the army is reluctant to send more choppers to Somalia.
The developments come in light of an October 14th UN Security Council decision to deploy an extra 4000 troops to Somalia and a request for two attack helicopters from troop contributing countries.
He however says the UPDF understands the urgent need for attack helicopters in Somalia. Uganda contributes the bulk of the 20,000 strong African Union Mission in Somalia—AMISOM with Kenya, Burundi, Sierra Leone and Djibouti being the other contributors.