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Helicopter bought last year after old fleet was grounded

Updated Monday, June 11th 2012 at 00:00 GMT +3

By Isaiah Lucheli

The helicopter that crashed Sunday was delivered to the police early this year.

At the time, a majority of the Russian made choppers that were being used by the force had been grounded.

The Eurocopter AS350 B3e Ecureuil, manufactured in 2010 in France was delivered brand new to the police department as opposed to the Russian Mi-17 that were purchased by the Government second hand in 1998.

Kenyan military and police helicopters have suffered repeated mishaps. Some of the recent incidents include March 18, 2009 where President Kibaki was forced to abandon an army chopper that developed mechanical problems while on a tour in Kisii.

The other incident involved a police Russian Mi-17 helicopter that crashed in Kapsabet following a meeting at the Kipchoge Keino Stadium. It was carrying Internal Security Assistant minister Orwa Ojode, the then Rift Valley PC Hassan Noor Hassan and former Police Commissioner Hussein Ali.

The latest incident happened early this year following the launch of operation Linda Nchi when a military helicopter crashed killing eight soldiers at Wajir airstrip.

It is after the crashing of one of the Mi-17 chopper and grounding of two others that the Government acquired two choppers and two fixed wing caravan light planes for the police force.

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