Wed, Aug 03, 2005
Yoweri Museveni Wants Answers In Crash That Killed Sudanese
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni
has appointed a three-member commission to investigate the
helicopter crash that killed a newly-appointed Sudanese vice
president along with 13 other people. The decision came amid
reports that a Ugandan parliamentary committee had recommended the
president get rid of his Mi-172 rather than overhaul it.
A report from the House Committee on Presidential and Foreign
Affairs made its recommendation to dump the Mi-172 (file photo of
type, below) last year. "It was reported that State House requires
for $2.5 million to overhaul the presidential helicopter airframe.
This airframe has been in operation for seven years. During the
overhaul that is due in November/December, 2004 State House plans
to modernize the helicopter and operate it for another seven
The report, quoted by the Kampala Monitor, also said, "The
Committee, however, reiterates its previous recommendation that
State House should ask for an additional $3.5 million to buy a
brand new helicopter and with time, overhaul the old one to become
a back up Presidential helicopter."
But another minister of parliament sitting on the committee went
even further. "This helicopter had structural problems. It was
unfit to fly at night. I told the State House comptroller [Richard
Muhinda] that we should buy a new helicopter at $5 million but he
insisted that they could repair it for $2.5 million," said MP
Aggrey Awori. "I told him [Muhinda] that they were taking a chance
with the President's life. I even argued with the Presidential
Guard Brigade [PGB] recently over the same issue."
Saturday's crash killed Sudan's newly-installed vice president,
John Garang (above). The former rebel leader was seen as a bridge
to peace in the 20-year long civil war that has all but destroyed
A statement released by the office of the Sudanese President
Omar el-Bashir on Monday said, "It has now been confirmed that the
plane crashed after it hit a mountain range in southern Sudan
because of poor visibility and this resulted in the death of Dr.
John Garang de Mabior, six of his colleagues and seven other crew
members of the Ugandan presidential plane."
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