Somalia President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo on Tuesday reached out to President Uhuru Kenyatta to express his regrets after a Kenyan cargo aircraft was shot down in Bardale area in Baidoa on Monday, May 4, killing six people.
In a statement to newsrooms, the Foreign Affairs Ministry said Farmajo made a phone call to President Kenyatta on Tuesday morning to inform him that he had ordered investigations into the incident.
The probe is being conducted by Somalia’s Civil Aviation Authority.
According to the ministry, President Farmajo extended an invitation to the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) to team with their Somalia counterparts to help with the investigations.
Two pilots who died in the crash have been identified as Captain Mabruk Sherman and Omar Chiraghdin from Mombasa.
Farmajo extended condolences to the families of the deceased.
“The President further welcomed President Farmaajo’s invitation to Kenya’s civil aviation authorities to join in the investigation into the aircraft crash emphasizing the need to swiftly, but thoroughly conclude the process.”
The aircraft was supporting humanitarian operations during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Warning that the incident could affect humanitarian activities in Somalia, the ministry appealed to all Kenyan and other humanitarian aircraft operating in the region to enhance extra precaution in light of the incident.
The Embraer 120 plane with tail registration 5Y AXO and belonging to African Express was landing in Bardale town when it was hit with an RPG in what is now believed to be a mistake by Ethiopian forces.
It is reported that Ethiopian forces were not aware that the plane was due to land in the town, leading to this accidental downing of the plane.
KCAA Director General Capt. Gilbert Kibe said the Africa Express’ operations officer told the authority that they lost contact with the aircraft at 4:20pm Monday.
The aircraft had been operating in Somalia since March 2, 2020.