KDF pilot still missing after jet crash in Somalia

Kenya: The whereabouts of the pilot of the Kenya Defene Force fighter jet that crashed in Somalia on Thursday are still unknown, the Department of Defence (DoD) said in a statement yesterday.

An update by KDF Public Affairs Officer David Obonyo said the aircraft went down after developing technical problems in an area controlled by Al Shabaab militiamen, who were the first to arrive at he scene of the crash and set the aircraft on fire. It was one of two planes returning from a mission.

“The two aircraft were from a successful mission where they destroyed Aarare, an Al Shaabab base that had been confirmed by intelligence as an operation and logistic base. According to our sources in Somalia, several Al Shaabab militia, including foreign fighters, were killed and many others inured and equipment destroyed during their airstrikes,” Col Obonyo said.

Enemy stronghold

Reports of the crash were first made public late Thursday afternoon when KDF said the aircraft went down in Jamaame region, an enemy stronghold, as it returned from a combat mission.

According to the statement, “The pilot of the aircraft made a distress call to his wingman – the pilot in the second aircraft. Regrettably, the aircraft crashed in enemy territory. Al Shaabab militia reached the site of the crashed aircraft and set it on fire. The fate of the pilot remains unknown; he is still missing in action.”

The statement expressed solidarity with the family of the “missing hero” and stressed KDF’s resolve to protect the territorial integrity of the country.

Hours after KDF reported that its aircraft had crashed, Al Shaabab took to social media and claimed responsibility.