South African helicopter pilot killed in Cabo Delgado aircraft crash – report

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A South African pilot, reportedly with flying hours logged for Dyck Advisory Group (DAG), was killed along with a police officer when a Bat Hawk light sport aircraft (LSA) crashed in Cabo Delgado’s Macomia last month.

Zitamar News named the pilot as Mark Tout, who flew for the private military contractor DAG in 2020, providing air cover for Mozambican police counter-insurgency operations.

The publication reports sources telling it the Bat Hawk, built in Mpumalanga’s Nelspruit, had a PKM machine gun aboard “likely operated by the police officer”. The weapon is usually mounted, either on a pintle or bipod, and used by the number two in the LSA. The report reads, in part, “it is unclear whether Tout and the [unidentified] Mozambican police officer, were taking part in an aerial assault that was carried out on the Mucojo administrative post”.

When Zitamar published “it was unclear if the aircraft was downed by enemy fire, or if it was an accident caused by bad weather”.

The report continued: “It is unclear if the police’s use of a private military contractor was co-ordinated with Mozambique’s Ministry of National Defence. The Ministry of the Interior, which oversees the national police force, has seen its role in the conflict in Cabo Delgado reduce over recent years”.

Cabo Delgado has since 2017 been the site of ongoing attacks, intimidation and violence against local inhabitants by ASWJ (Ansar al-Sunna Wa Jamma), with the Mozambican military (FADM -Forcas Armadas de Defesa de Moçambique) initially taking on the Islamists. Support for President Felipe Nyusi came from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in August 2021 and is set to cease operations in July. The SAMIM (SADC Mission in Mozambique) exit leaves a Rwandan contingent as the lone continental support for the FADM.