A UPDF helicopter has crashed while on mission in Somalia under the AMISOM.
“A helicopter on a mission to support AMISOM troops crashed soon after take-off in Balidogle in the Lower Shabelle region of Somalia on Friday. All four soldiers aboard the helicopter were rescued and are in a stable medical condition,” AMISOM said in a statement on Sunday.
According to AMISOM, investigations into the crash of the UPDF chopper have commenced but preliminary findings indicate that it was due to mechanical failure.
The chopper that crashed on Friday is one of the few belonging to the UPDF aviation unit that was deployed to Somalia in July for the first time in eight years.
The first attempt in 2012 ended disastrously when three out of four choppers crashed in Kenya on their way to Mogadishu but up to now, Uganda is yet to receive compensation from the UN as negotiations over the same continue.
It is now yet clear whether the latest chopper will be compensated.
Speaking during the sending off of the aviation unit, the Chief of Defence Forces, Gen David Muhoozi this was meant to increase their firepower against the Al Shabaab militants.
“The presence of airpower will offer us extensive asymmetric advantages over the unconventional and `dispersed enemy in Somalia. With air assets, we will be able to respond quickly with precision fires or inject a quick reaction force once the enemy assembles,” he said.
According to the CDF, the presence of air assets will also not only guarantee the dominance of firepower for the UPDF over the enemy but also provide a marked advantage on technical intelligence, among other benefits.
“Once eventually fully injected on the operation theatre with all the assets, we are confident that you will provide the ground forces with the necessary firepower that was missing to subdue the enemy. Airpower is also an important intelligence capability, enhancing surveillance and reconnaissance that we have been operating without for over a decade.”
Consequently, the UPDF started carrying out air raids against the Al Shabaab militants and last month over 180 militants were killed in a raid by the Ugandan army.