Military officials in Uganda have said three of four helicopters that were on the way to join an African Union force in Somalia have gone missing. They never arrived at a scheduled stopover in Kenya.
A spokesman from the Kenyan Department of Defense said on Monday that bad weather was hampering search efforts near Mount Kenya in the central part of Kenya.
"We are waiting for the weather to clear at Mount Kenya so that we can strengthen our efforts for search and rescue," Bogita Ongeri said.
The four helicopters left Sunday from a Ugandan base in Entebbe. They were bound for Somalia to support African Union peacekeeping troops in their fight against al Shabbab rebels, a group that has been linked to al Qaeda.
Only one of the helicopters arrived at a base in the Kenyan city of Garissa on the Somali border.
The pilot of one of the missing helicopters has been in contact with Kenyan authorities. He had radioed for help from the Mount Kenya region. It is not known what happened to the aircraft or how many passengers were on board. The area around Mount Kenya, a snow-capped mountain which is the second-highest in Africa, is full of densely-forested foothills.
Last week, Uganda said it would send helicopters to Somalia to help with the African Union effort that involves 17,000 troops.
mz/tj (AFP, Reuters)