DIPLOMATIC SPAT

Ethiopia blocks Kenya from accessing plane crash scene

Government will now rely on Somalia report to find out what caused accident that left four Kenyans dead

In Summary
  • Cargo aircraft registered in Kenya as 5Y-AXO was reportedly shot down by a rocket missile.
  • It was operating a domestic flight between Mogadishu and Baidoa, Somalia.
Scene of Kenya aircraft crash
TRAGEDY: Scene of Kenya aircraft crash
Image: COURTESY

Ethiopian forces on Tuesday barred Kenya from accessing the crash site of a light aircraft that killed all six on board.

The cargo aircraft registered in Kenya as 5Y-AXO was reportedly shot down by a rocket missile. It was operating a domestic flight between Mogadishu and Baidoa, Somalia.

Somali Transport minister Hassan Hussein told media in Somalia that four Kenyans and two Somalis died in the crash.

 
 

“We have an Amison camp, which controls the airspace in that region, and we also have the Ethiopian army in the same area. I can’t go into details but the Kenyan military was stopped from accessing the accident scene,” a top state official told the Star.

“We also have al Shabaab in the same region and we can’t give a specific position unless investigations are done.”

The plane was chartered by an NGO to transport medical supplies and mosquito nets to Bardale, Somalia, when the crash occurred on Monday evening.

Sources within the aviation industry and media in Somalia reported that those on board were Captain Xasan Muuse, Mabrook Sherman (1st officer), Captain Cumar, a Kenyan engineer, Cali Madax (in charge of the cargo) and Saciid Cadbulaahi (the company representative).

The Kenyan government said on Tuesday it was working with other agencies “to keenly monitor the investigation of this tragic incident and will collaborate with all to bring closure and resolution to the incident.”

“Kenya Civil Aviation confirms that a Kenyan-registered aircraft 5Y-AXO, belonging to African Express crashed in Bardale, Somalia, as it approached the airport on Monday May 4, 2020, under circumstances we are yet to confirm,” the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority said in a statement on Tuesday.

The aircraft has been operating in Somalia since March 2, 2020. It departed Mogadishu with medical supplies headed for Baidoa where it landed at 1pm on Monday.

 
 

The aircraft then left Baidoa for Berdale landing at 4pm and later departed for Bardere.

“The firm’s operation officer confirms having lost contact with the aircraft at approximately 4.20pm,” KCAA director general Kibe Gilbert said in a statement.

The Somali government on Tuesday said they had launched investigations and would provide a concrete report.

Edited by Henry Makori