Zimbabwe’s official ‘Herald’ newspaper today (Wednesday) confirmed that two senior Zimbabwean officers were killed at the weekend when their Allouette helicopter was shot down by rebels over the eastern town of Kabalo. The ‘Herald’ named the men as Colonel Alphonso Kufa and squadron leader Herbert Vundla. The paper also said that Flight Sergeant Edson Sande, a helicopter gunner, was missing believed captured.
A defence source in Harare told IRIN the helicopter gunship, doubling as an airborne command post, had run out of “solid shot” ammunition which strips foliage to reveal the enemy’s position. “They had gotten too close to their quarry,” the source said. DRC rebels claimed they killed 47 Zimbabweans, including the two officers, in the weekend fighting and shot down a MiG aircraft. Harare has not released casualty figures for the battle. It officially acknowledges that 10 soldiers have died since the start of its military intervention on behalf of the Kinshasa government. Analysts believe the death toll is far higher.
This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions