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Ethiopian troops admit downing Kenyan plane due to suspicion

By Mireri Junior | May 9th 2020

It has now emerged that the private cargo plane that killed five people in Berdale town, Somalia on Monday, was shot down by Ethiopian troops.

In a statement written to the African Union (AU) by the Ethiopian Army, the troops admitted downing the aircraft due to lack of communication and suspicion. 

In the statement, the Sector III Force Commander of the Amisom defended the troops adding that it is lack of proper communication with the ground troops that led to the shooting down of the plane.

The commander there was communication breakdown and failure by the aircraft to follow due protocol in its attempts to access the base, thereby raising suspicion from the soldiers.

"When an aircraft is arriving at Berdele FOB, the usual landing direction is East-West, but the aircraft was flying from West- East to land over the base camp of Berdele, closer to the ground and even tried to land on ZU 23 crew.”

According to the statement, the plane also displayed suspicious behaviour as it flew over the base and had soldiers believe it was a suicide plane trying to find a target in the base camp.

“In view of the above, the troops concluded that the aircraft was suspected to be a suicide and was trying to find a target to make suicide in the base camp due to movement now and then over the FOB,” it said.

The report further indicated that the incident was performed by non-Amisom troops of Ethiopia and called for a joint investigation by Ethiopia, Somali and Kenya teams to get the truth.

"The incident was performed by non-Amisom troops of Ethiopia, which will require mutual collaborative investigation team from Somalia, Ethiopia, and Kenya to further understand the truth," the statement concluded.

The Kenyan-registered aircraft was undertaking a humanitarian mission when it crashed in the town of Berdale, in the southwestern Bay region of Somalia.

The plane, which belonged to the African Express Airways, killing all five people on board, three Kenyans and two Somali nationals.

The plane was delivering supplies related to the coronavirus pandemic and had initially left the Somali capital Mogadishu for Berdale.

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