26 March 2007
BRUSSELS – The two Belgian Agusta A-109 helicopters that have been stationed in Benin will for the time being no longer fly in service of the Benin president Thomas Yayi Boni.
As election campaigns in the country enter full swing, Yayi Boni has made extensive use of the Belgian helicopters made available to him by Defence Ministter André Flahaut (Socialist party PS). The Belgian officers operating the craft have been asked to fly in dangerous conditions so frequently that they submitted a report to the Belgian military leadership.
The opposition in Benin also reportedly has questions about the Belgian support for the president, the officers says. Minister Flahaut has therefore decided to stop the flights for Yayi Boni until the elections are over.
The sale of four Agustas to Benin has still not yet been completed. “The plan is in its final phase,” Flahaut says.
[Copyright Expatica News 2007]
Subject: Belgian news