Two Russian pilots and a Congolese officer have been killed after two army helicopters crashed during a reconnaissance mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the military says. The two Russian-manufactured MI-24 choppers crashed in a mountainous area on Friday “because of bad weather,” General Leon Mushale, the Congo’s operational commander in North Kivu Province, told reporters in the regional capital of Goma.
“Troops found three bodies – an FARDC (Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo) officer and two Russian pilots,” he said. Two FARDC officers and three Russian crew members were also wounded in the incident, Mushale added.
The crashes happened during a reconnaissance patrol mission in the east of the country against the M23 rebel group which was formed to fight against the DR Congo in 2012. The rebel group says the government does not respect a peace accord signed with the M23 in 2009. In 2013, the M23 was defeated with hundreds of its fighters fleeing the country.