Uganda’s military says an attack helicopter crashed into a house, killing the crew and a civilian
January 3, 2024 By Risdel Kasasira, The Associated Press
KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — A Ugandan military helicopter being used in the fight against Islamic extremists in neighboring Congo crashed into a Ugandan house on Tuesday, killing both crew members and a civilian in the building, Uganda’s military said.
The cause of the attack helicopter’s crash in the western district of Ntoroko near the border is suspected to be bad weather, said Brig Felix Kulayigye, spokesperson for the Uganda People’s Defense Forces.
In a statement, Kulayigye said the helicopter was flying to Congo, where Uganda’s military is fighting the Allied Democratic Forces, an extremist group allied to the Islamic State organization.
”The crew died heroes as they participated in the struggle to pacify our western frontier of the dreadful ADF,” he said.
Several Ugandan military helicopters have crashed in recent years, with the military often blaming bad weather. In September 2022, two military helicopters being used to fight the ADF crashed in eastern Congo, killing 22 Ugandan soldiers.
The ADF has been accused of launching deadly attacks in Uganda targeting civilians. In recent years it also has targeted civilians in remote parts of eastern Congo. It rarely claims responsibility. In 2021, Uganda launched air and artillery strikes in Congo against the group.
In June 2023, suspected ADF rebels attacked a school in a remote area of Uganda near the Congo border, killing at least 41 people in a nighttime raid before fleeing across the porous frontier, authorities said. Thirty-eight students were among the victims.
The ADF has long opposed the rule of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, a U.S. security ally who has held power in this East African country since 1986.
A Ugandan military assault later forced the ADF back into eastern Congo, where many rebel groups are able to operate because the central government has limited control there.