Okello James Gregory, a brother to the late Commissioner of Police, Christine Alalo as well as her (Alalo) son, Alvin Asiimwe are part of the team that left the country on Thursday for Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, to help in identification and recovery of the remains of the officer.
Alalo was among the 157 persons who died in the crash involving an Ethiopian Airlines plane on Sunday March 10.
The passenger plane, a Boeing 737Max 8 model, crashed six minutes after take-off from the Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia headed for Nairobi, Kenya.
According to CP Fred Enanga, the Police spokesperson, Alalo’s relatives are escorted by Police Director Health Services, Dr Moses Byaruhanga and are expected to be joined by Alalo’s elder son, Emmanuel Ahimbisibwe in Addis Ababa, who will be traveling from Canada.
“The sibling and sons will help in availing DNA samples, if necessary, to aid in finding a match to the body remains of the late, among those that could have been recovered,” Enanga said.
AIGP Rwego Xervir of Interpol African Union received the team and will jointly work closely with the forensic experts tasked with identification and recovery of human remains of the victims.
Burial arrangements will be determined by the findings of the report by the team in Addis Ababa, he says.
Until her death, the fallen officer was working with the African Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) as the Acting Police Commissioner and she was travelling from Italy to Mogadishu, Somalia when the incident occurred.
She joined the Uganda Police as a Cadet/ASP on August 18, 2007, and served in various capacities of command in the Uganda Police.
A U.K. company, Blake Emergency Services, has been hired to carry out the DNA investigation. On Thursday close relatives went one by one into a hotel room to be swabbed for DNA. Other families across the world are sending in objects containing DNA.
But there’s no certainty how long identifying the remains will take. The retrieval of bodies of those who perished in the plane crash also remains a very difficult task for the search teams on the crash site given the impact following the accident. Getting some of the bodies could take days, weeks or even months.
The whole of this week, grieving families and relatives of the deceased, from over 30 countries have been arriving in Ethiopia with hopes that they will find and identify bodies of their loved ones.
Some family members have expressed frustration with the pace of the investigation and release of information.