Three including pilot dead after UPDF helicopter crashes in Ntoroko

The UPDF aircraft which crashed in Ntoroko on Tuesday, January 2, 2024 (Photo/Courtesy)

Ntoroko, (UG): Three people including a pilot died on the spot after a Russian-made UPDF Mi-28 attack helicopter crashed and lit up in flames in the areas of Karugutu-Ntoroko in western Uganda.

The Tuesday afternoon incident occurred in Nyamisingiri Village in Kichwamba Sub-County, just a few meters away from the border of Kabarole and Ntoroko districts.

The fatalities include two soldiers and one civilian whose house was crashed by the helicopter which is reported to have been on a route to the neighbouring DR Congo for Operation Shuuja mission against ADF militants.

“It’s true the UPDF helicopter crashed today. The helicopter had two occupants, and they all died heroes as they participated in the struggle to pacify our Western frontier of the dreadful ADF terrorists,” said Brig Gen Felix Kulayigye, the spokesperson of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces.

DailyExpress understands that the Mi-28 Havoc combat helicopter, developed by Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant cost the Ugandan army around $18 million (Shs 60bn).

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The latest development leaves the army leadership in the puzzle with questions lingering as to why very expensive aircraft of the Air Force are tumbling from the sky at an alarming rate.

The incident comes less than a week after a UPDF reconnaissance plane used to hunt down ADF militants in the jungles of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) crashed in Kasese district

The UPDF Diamond aircraft, which cost about Shs 5bn, was used for reconnaissance missions in the ongoing military operations against Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) militants in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The spy plane helped Ugandan armed forces locate ADF bases in DRC and provide coordinates for long-range and aerial strikes. “The crash undermines our reconnaissance capacity in Eastern DRC,” an official in the UPDF who preferred anonymity to speak freely told this website.

The increased aircraft accidents undermine efforts to build a strong air force to counter regional security threats and also lead to wastage of billions of shillings of taxpayers’ money.

“There is poor leadership of these critical air assets,” the official added.
“The Chief of Defence Forces usually orders junior officers such as Captains who have little technical experience to deploy them and they end up crashing.”

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Despite witnessing increased cases of aircraft crashes in recent years, the UPDF has continuously refused to explain to the taxpayers. The crashes have also raised fears of mismanagement by the military’s top brass.

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