Ethiopian news : Ethiopian Forces in Somalia Shot Down Kenyan Plane

Ethiopian Forces in Somalia Shot Down Kenyan Plane
Ethiopian news : Ethiopian Forces in Somalia Shot Down Kenyan Plane

An Ethiopian anti-aircraft missile brought down the Kenyan plane that crashed within the Somali town of Bardale last week, killing six people on board, multiple sources have told VOA Somali.
Ethiopian forces are stationed in Bardale to assist their Somali counterparts retain control of the town, once controlled by militant group al-Shabab.

The May 4 incident began with the incoming Kenyan plane aborting a landing attempt because an Ethiopian vehicle mounted with Zu anti-aircraft missiles was on the runway, officials say. 

The plane then flew over the vehicle to form a second plan to land. The Ethiopian soldier operating the Zu fired several rounds, hitting the plane, consistent with witnesses and Somali officials.

Weydow Ali Hassan is that the town’s head of social affairs. Hassan was one among the officials waiting at the airstrip to receive medical supplies the plane was carrying.

“There was a technical vehicle mounted with a gun on where the plane was getting to land. We thought it had been getting to collide into it,” Hassan said.

After the missiles were fired, the plane burst into flames and crashed on the side of the airstrip, consistent with Hassan.

His account was confirmed by a regional minister and an aviation official who both asked to not be identified for security reasons.

A fourth official who wasn't in Bardale said a donkey on the runway forced the plane to abort the landing and not the Ethiopian vehicle . Hassan disputed that account.

“There was no donkey present there,” he said. “There were Ethiopian soldiers and their vehicles.”

Ethiopian military officials acknowledged their soldiers shot down the plane but say their military didn’t know the aircraft was thanks to arrive. They also say the soldiers feared the plane might “bomb” them.

Bardale, alittle town about 60 kilometers west of Baidoa, lacks an traffic tower . Flight arrivals are conveyed by telephone to Somali officials on the bottom .

“They were scared; it created fear,” says a source on the brink of the Ethiopian soldiers. The soldier who fired the missile has been in Bardale “about 20 days,” consistent with the official.

A team of investigators from Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia has begun an investigation. 

The team will visit the location of the crash near the Bardale airstrip. Their first task is to recover the recorder and voice recorder of the E120 aircraft, owned by Kenyan company African Express Airways. The recorders were located the day after the crash, but officials chose to not retrieve them until experts arrived. the world has been sealed since, consistent with a politician .

Somalia suspended both international and native flights thanks to the coronavirus epidemic but the aircraft, charted by an NGO, had a one-day special permit to deliver the medical supplies to Bardale.

Another contentious issue is that the status of the soldier who fired on the plane. Multiple sources including an AMISOM source say they were told the person may be a “non-AMISOM” soldier.

Non-AMISOM soldiers are Ethiopians who operate outside the mandate of the African Union Mission in Somalia. Ethiopia has nearly 4,000 soldiers serving as a part of the AU mission, but non-AMISOM forces are larger. consistent with a reliable official, 75% of Ethiopian troops in Somalia are non-AMISOM soldiers. 

Somali and Ethiopian officials both say non-AMISOM soldiers operate under a “bilateral agreement.” The Somali opposition is questioning the legality of the presence of non-AMISOM Ethiopian forces within the country. 

The Somali government said it'll await the results of the investigation being conducted.

“All the evidence is there [in Bardale]; we prepared ourselves, we saw the witnesses,” says Somali Transport and Aviation Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Salat, who visited the scene last week. “We are waiting experts from Kenya and Ethiopia to hitch us so as that we will do a transparent investigation in order to share with the families of these lost and therefore the company on what happened, how it happened and the way to stop similar incidents.”

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