Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo and the Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta spoke by phone on Tuesday. The two argued about the plane crash that killed six people in Bardale last Monday. The plane, owned by Kenyan airline Africa Express, was carrying material to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.
+ Among those dead, three were Kenyan nationals, according to the website Garowe Online. The BBC reported that the crew consisted of two Kenyan citizens and four Somalis.
Farmajo termed the plane crash as “unfortunate”. The Kenyan president, in turn, had termed that the crash happened under “unclear circumstances” and demands for “in-depth” explanations. Nairobi also asked humanitarian aircraft operating in Somalia to take “extra” precautions following the “unprecedented” incident.
“Kenyan and other humanitarian aircraft operating in the region are also urged to enhance extra precaution in light of the unclear circumstances surrounding the incident,” read Raychelle Omamo, the Kenyan foreign affairs minister. “The Ministry shall keenly monitor the investigation of this tragic incident and will collaborate with all to bring closure and resolution.”
In a post on Twitter, Ahmed Awad, the Somalia foreign affairs minister, condoled with Uhuru over the loss of lives and assured the Kenyan leader of “thorough” investigations to unearth the mystery surrounding the plane crash. “President Farmajo assured President Kenyatta that thorough investigation will be done into this unfortunate crash,” wrote.
The phone call between the two offers temporary relief of tensions that had begun to escalate in the crash’s region.
The plane, an Embraer 120 from the Kenyan airline African Express, took off from the capital Mogadishu and made a stopover in the southern city of Baidoa. At 3:30 pm (local time), the aircraft falls close to the Bardale district, about 300 miles from the capital. Located in the southwest of Somalia, the air crash happened in a tension-prone region.
The Somali authorities did not indicate the possible cause of the accident, but also did not comment on the possibility that the plane was accidentally shot down by Ethiopian troops integrated into the African Union Mission to Somalia (Amisom) who are stationed in the area and who are fighting against the group. terrorist Al-Shabaab, Al Qaeda’s arm in the country.
In another hand, local Somali officials in Bardale raised an accusing finger to Ethiopian National Defense Forces [ENDF], claiming that they are responsible for downing the aircraft. The soldiers reportedly fired a rocket-propelled grenade at the plane.
This was the second time in two months that President Farmajo spoke about a possible “misunderstanding” between the two nations. In February, the two governments addressed tensions at the Mandera border after Somali National Army [SNA] clashed with Jubaland regional forces, who enjoy Kenya’s support.
+ Based at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, in Nairobi, African Express Airways is the largest privately-owned airline in East Africa.
Made in Brazil
The model dropped in Somalia is Brasília, a win-engine turboprop (EMB-120) with serial number 259 – was manufactured in Brazil in 1999 and delivered in the same year to the US airline Comair. The airplane has been flying with African Express since 2013. The information is from the Brazilian website Airway, specialized in aviation. This is the first time that an Embraer commercial plane has been shot down.