By BERNARD MOMANYI
Monday, August 13, 2012
NAIROBI, Kenya (CapitalFM) – One of the three Ugandan helicopters that went missing over Kenyan airspace on Sunday has reportedly been sighted within Mt Kenya forest.
Police said efforts were being made to reach the aircraft even though the terrain was rough.
“We have received reports that one of the plane is within Mt Kenya,” Francis Munyambu, the police chief for Central Province said on telephone.
He said rescue and recovery teams had been dispatched to the general location where the M1-23 helicopter was reportedly sighted.
“We do not know where exactly it is… there is a general location that has been stated and our team has left. We will update you when we get more information,” Munyambu added, refusing to divulge any further details on the fate of the crew.
Another senior police officer told Capital FM News that a second helicopter was also “somewhere within the forest, towards the Meru side.”
“It is possible the helicopters are within that (Mt Kenya) forest. That is the preliminary report we have for now but we wait until we access the location,” he added, requesting not to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue.
The Kenyan military headquarters had not given a statement on the matter by mid morning on Monday.
The Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) headquarters in Nairobi was also yet to issue a statement on the ‘disappearance’ of the aircraft.
International media reported that the military helicopters were headed to Somalia and may have lost direction before they landed or crashed in the expansive forest.
Reports quoting the Ugandan military said the four helicopters carrying Ugandan soldiers were headed to Somalia to reinforce African Union peacekeeping forces battling Al Shabaab rebels.
They were said to have left a base in the Ugandan city of Entebbe.
One managed to land safely in Wajir, but Kenyan officials have not confirmed the information.