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Ugandan defence forces to deploy choppers in Somalia


UPDF 1Kampala- The army is planning to deploy choppers in Somalia to reinforce military operations against Somali insurgents who have heightened attacks against military and civilian population in Mogadishu in the last three weeks.

This will be the first time Ugandan military helicopters are being deployed in Somalia after the first attempt in 2013 disastrously ended with three out of four choppers crashing in Kenya on their way to Mogadishu, killing seven soldiers.

The army spokesperson, Lt Col Paddy Ankunda, told Daily Monitor yesterday that the “air assets” would make mobility of Ugandan soldiers deployed in central and south east of Somalia easier.
“I can only confirm to you that we are in the process of deploying air assets to support our military operations in Somalia,” he said.

Earlier, the African Union Commissioner for peace and security, Mr Smail Chergui, had told journalists during the meeting of eastern African intelligence and security chiefs in Kampala that AU was negotiating with Uganda to deploy the choppers.

“When al-Shabaab is attacked, they run away and escape because we don’t have helicopters. It has been difficult to follow them. But hopefully, with Uganda, we shall have helicopters,” Mr Chergui said. He said the UN would pay a reimbursement fee to Uganda for the wear and tear of the helicopters. “The money is available. We are waiting for Uganda to deploy.”

Source: Daily Monitor