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Ugandan Officials Probing Deadly Army Crash

Ugandan officials are investigating the crash of an army truck late Sunday that killed at least 72 people in the vehicle, including 57 soldiers. Cathy Majtenyi reports for VOA from Nairobi.

The truck in which the soldiers and their families were traveling smashed into a concrete barrier in the eastern part of the country.

Ugandan army spokesman Major Felix Kulayigye tells VOA that the loss represents almost two platoons of soldiers, one of the highest number of deaths of troops in a non-combat situation.

"It is a great loss for us - it is a tragedy," he said. "It indeed will have an impact on morale, particularly in the battalion wherever these soldiers were based. Of course, our hearts go to the families of the bereaved."

Kulayigye says a team of investigators is trying to determine the cause of the crash. Media reports indicate that the brakes may have failed as the truck was navigating steep, winding roads in the area.

Soldiers have been deployed in eastern Uganda in recent months to try to stem cattle-rustling in the area, particularly following threats by Pokot cattle herders living in Kenya who periodically cross the border into Uganda to raid cattle.