Ugandan diplomats injured in South Sudan plane crashBy TABU BUTAGIRA in Kampala | Thursday, May 3 2012 at 11:31
Two diplomats at Uganda’s embassy in Juba yesterday sustained injuries after a plane carrying them crash-landed at South Sudan’s Yambio airstrip in Western Equatorial State, according to diplomatic and security sources.
The plane’s unnamed pilot and another passenger got multiple fractures, said Col. Gabriel Ayol, the deputy commander of the newly-created counter-LRA African Union Regional Taskforce.
His taskforce oversees security incidents in the area where the accident happened. He told Uganda's Daily Monitor newspaper by telephone from Juba, the South Sudan capital, that there were 11 passengers on board when the plane hurtled down violently at about 10:30am. “I am told two people sustained serious injuries,” he said, “The cause of the mishap is not yet known.”
James Mugume, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, later told the Daily Monitor that the two Ugandan Foreign Service officers - a man and a lady - had been evacuated for treatment in Gulu town.
Both diplomats, he said, are known by the surname Okello. The man broke his leg, according to Mr Mugume, but “they are safe”. This newspaper understands that the ill-fated, fixed-wing plane belonged to, or was chartered by, the UN food agency, the World Food Programme.
A diplomat familiar with the incident, but who asked not to be named because he was not authorised to speak on the matter, said: “A WFP fixed-wing plane crashed (yesterday) morning at Yambio airstrip with eleven on board. No deaths, but certainly injuries occurred.”
Reports about the fate of the other passengers, or their particulars, were scanty. The Daily Monitor could not establish the plane’s itinerary or nature of the errand by what sources described as a “high-powered delegation”.
A South Sudan government official had said injured passengers were taken for emergency treatment at a nearby hospital in Yambio, and that the Ugandan diplomats were stuck there.
But Mr Mugume's version was different. “I have confirmed two Ugandan (Foreign Service) officers were involved, and one injured the leg. Both have been flown for treatment to Gulu and they are safe.”
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