The Kenyan government has called on Somalia authorities to expeditiously investigate circumstances under which a Kenyan private cargo aircraft was shot down in Bardale area in Baidoa on Monday, May 4, killing six people.
In a press statement on Tuesday, the Foreign Affairs Ministry said the aircraft was supporting humanitarian operations during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The ministry said the incident could affect humanitarian activities in the country.
“The Government of the Republic of Kenya urges the Federal Government of Somalia and International Agencies to thoroughly and swiftly investigate the matter because it impacts humanitarian operations at a time of highest need, ” the statement reads in part.
The ministry appealed to all Kenyan and other humanitarian aircraft operating in the region to enhance extra precaution in light of the incident.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs working with other Agencies shall keenly monitor the investigation of this tragic incident and will collaborate with all to bring closure and resolution to the incident,” the ministry said.
All the individuals on board including two pilots, an engineer and crew members perished in the crash.
“The Ministry of Foriegn Affairs of the Republic of Kenya extends its deepest and most heartfelt condolences to the families of the late crew members, ” the statement adds.
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.
African Express is owned by Captain Musa Hassan Bulhan, a career pilot and one of the pioneer aviation entrepreneurs in Kenya. Captain Bulhan is known to be one of the first Africans to own an aircraft in the continent.
In a statement, the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) said the aircraft had been operating in Somalia since March 2, 2020.
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.