r Ministry of Defence - Sri Lanka

SLAF Helicopter Crash in Central Africa: Defence Ministry Refutes
Al-Shabaab Hostage Claims

January 13, 2024
  • Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) initiates Investigations 

The Ministry of Defence in Sri Lanka strongly refuted the allegations that a group of Sri Lankans was taken hostage by the Al-Shabaab militant group after a SLAF helicopter crash-landed in Somalia.

The SLAF MI 17 helicopter (SMH 4417) was on a routine cargo flight during a United Nations Peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic on January 12 crash-landed at Sam-Oundja during the landing phase due to rotor brownout (RWB) resulting from extreme dusty and sand conditions.

At the time of the incident, five crew members and 1200 kg of cargo were on board. Two crew members sustained minor injuries.

The Ministry of Defence further emphasized that the above five-member crew and the helicopter are safe within the Sri Lankan Contingent in Central African Republic.

The SLAF has appointed a panel of investigators to probe the crash of the helicopter and determine the precise cause and extent of the damage.

The Ministry of Defence urges the public to not to be misled by false information. Furthermore, media personnel are informed to reach out to the Ministry for any clarification.