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Uganda crash kills peacekeepers

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The aircraft came down in Lake Victoria near Bugunga Island

Three senior Burundi officers are among 10 people feared dead after a plane flying to Somalia crashed in Uganda's Lake Victoria, officials say.

The Soviet-era Ilyushin 76 was carrying equipment to the African Union peacekeeping force in Somalia, made up of troops from Uganda and Burundi.

It crashed shortly after taking off from Uganda's main Entebbe airport.

Two Russian and two Ukrainian crew members were also killed, according to Russian media.

It is also reported that at least one Uganda soldier was on board.

A rescue mission is under way but officials say there is little hope of finding any survivors.

Uganda map

"Burundi deplores the death of three of its officers who were on the plane," army spokesman Adolphe Manirakiza told Reuters news agency in Bujumbura.

"Unfortunately, it is highly unlikely that there are survivors," the deputy commander of Burundi's contingent in Somalia, Nicolas Bwakira, told AFP news agency.

Police spokeswoman Judith Nabakooba said the aircraft came down in Lake Victoria near Bugunga Island.

It is not known what caused the crash and a team of investigators has been sent to the site.

An army spokesman said eyewitnesses reported seeing the plane catch fire before it crashed in the lake.

It was carrying water purifiers, pipes and other equipment, the spokesman said, quoted by the Associated Press news agency.

The crash comes two week after 11 Burundian peacekeepers were killed in a suicide attack on their barracks in Mogadishu.

The AU mission was sent to Somalia two years ago but has been unable to end attacks by Islamist and nationalist insurgents.

Islamists now control much of the south of the country.

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