Two Russian pilots and a Congolese officer have been reportedly killed in a Mi-24 attack helicopter crash in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The Mi-24 was on a reconnaissance mission against rebels in the African Republic, when it crashed due to bad weather.
The Russian-built Mi-24 attack helicopter crashed in a mountainous terrain on Friday east of Congo near the borders with Rwanda and Uganda, Gen. Leon Mushale, the Congo’s operational commander in North Kivu Province, told reporters in Goma.
Two officers with Congo’s armed forces and three Russian passengers were also injured.
Lambert Mende, a government spokesperson, said that it hasn’t been determined what brought down the helicopters near the borders with Rwanda and Uganda.
In 2013, Congo forces defeated the M23 rebel group and several hundred fighters fled the country. But Rwanda’s Defense Ministry said about 30 unarmed people claiming to be M23 members crossed the border last weekend into Congo.
Earlier this month, Uganda’s government said more than 100 former M23 rebels trying to return to Congo from camps in Uganda were detained.
The Congolese Air Force operates three Mi-24 attack helicopters and six Mi-8 transport helicopters.
Although an attack helicopter, the Mi-24 can carry two to three crew members and eight personnel.