Aviation investigators from Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia have kicked off the joint probe into the circumstances surrounding the downing of a Kenyan registered aircraft by Ethiopian troops early this month.
Sources privy to the investigations have told HOL the investigators have arrived in Berdale the site of the crash which killed all five on board. Among the investigators are three Kenyans, four Somalis, one Ethiopian and South West minister of Transportation. The AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) confirmed the African Express cargo plane was shot down by Ethiopia troops operating outside the AU framework.
“The troops concluded that the aircraft was suspected to be a suicide and trying to find the target to make suicide in the base camp because of the movement of the aircraft now and then over the FOB,” an incident report by AMISOM Force Commander read in part.
HOL has also learnt the stakes in the investigations are high as Kenya might take drastic actions after the probe end. “There are fears Kenya might declare Somalia unsafe for its aircrafts and ban them flying here,” a source close to the investigations told HOL.
Should Kenya take such an action, it could deal a blow to air transport in Somalia since most of the aircrafts operating in the country are registered in Kenya.
The fact that the Ethiopian army downed the plane could also add to an already fragile state of relations with Kenya as the two countries engage in supremacy battles in Somalia.
Three Kenyans and two Somali citizens were killed in the May 5 incident.
Source: Hiiraan Online