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Tuesday,August 11,2020 07:19 AM

Garang, pilots bodies found

By Vision Reporter

Added 2nd August 2005 03:00 AM

THE charred bodies of the Ugandan crew killed on Saturday when the presidential helicopter crashed were yesterday flown to the southern Sudanese capital of Juba, sources said.

THE charred bodies of the Ugandan crew killed on Saturday when the presidential helicopter crashed were yesterday flown to the southern Sudanese capital of Juba, sources said.

By Emmy Allio

THE charred bodies of the Ugandan crew killed on Saturday when the presidential helicopter crashed were yesterday flown to the southern Sudanese capital of Juba, sources said.

The Ugandan chopper was taking Sudanese 1st Vice-President Dr. John Garang back home after talks with President Yoweri Museveni at his country home in Rwakitura, Mbarara. All on board died when the plane crashed due to bad weather.

The crew’s next of kin and Uganda government officials fly to Juba today to try to identify the bodies.
“Once the bodies of the Ugandans have been identified, they will be flown to Uganda. The bodies were burnt so badly that they need careful identification,” the source said.

The dead Ugandans are: Col. Peter Nyakairu (pilot), Capt. Paul Kiyimba (co-pilot), Major Patrick Kiggundu (flight engineer), Lt. Johnson Munanura (jet officer), Corporal Hassan Kiiza (signaler), Lillian Kanaije (stewardess/hostess) and Samuel Bakowa (protocol officer).
The dead Sudanese are: Dr. John Garang, the man who had led the SPLA rebels for decades and had just signed a delicate peace deal with Khartoum in Nairobi earlier this year.

The other Sudanese who died were lieutenant colonels Mayin and Amat Malwa, lieutenants Aboki Abur, Juma Mayin and Majok Deng Knany.

Sudanese President Omar el-Bashir and Dr. Garang were due to form a new government by August 9.

Garang, 60, who did not drink or smoke, was married with six children.

A serene atmosphere hang over the airforce staff quarters in Entebbe, as mourners gathered in the homes of the dead officers to share their grief.

By morning, a few people were still at Col. Nyakairu’s residence where a large number of mourners had kept vigil all night.

Some 50 metres away, Kiggundu’s residence was crowded with relatives among them Col. Nathan Katagara. A bon-fire was still burning in the middle of the compound at midday.

Kiggundu’s brother John Rukanda said Kiggundu was one of the soldiers captured in Tanzania in 1979 while on a bombing raid. He was released in 1983. “We remember him for being very hardworking, generous and patriotic.”

Kiyimba’s home, across the road from Kiggundu’s, was crowded with mourners. The youthful widow, Sarah Kiyimba, said his three children would miss him. “He was a quiet but serious man,” said former airforce worker Godfrey Katende.

Museveni said a committee of three would investigate the accident.
Garang and his entourage left Museveni’s home on Saturday heading for his base, New Site, in southern Sudan aboard a presidential MI-172 helicopter which crashed in the Imatong mountains.

The valley in which the helicopter crashed on the Sudan side is situated near the Uganda-Kenya border and just kilometres from New Site (New Kush), where Garang lived for years before moving to Khartoum recently.

A search by military forces from Kenya, Uganda and Sudan recovered the bodies early on Monday and moved them to New Site. Both President Bashir and SPLM/A spokesman, Dr. Samson Kwaje, denied foul play. “The helicopter hit a rock and crushed, killing all 17 on board,” he said. The official figure of the dead stands at thirteen.

Meanwhile, the army has deployed at the crash scene, army spokesman Shaban Bantariza said yesterday. “The scene has to be guarded for the purpose of insurers and investigators,” he said.

A State House source said the bereaved families were provided with supplies. “We are happy with the assistance,” Maj. Kiggundu’s relatives said.

Garang, pilots bodies found

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