MIAMI – An African Express Airways (XU) Embraer EMB 120 Brasilia airplane crashed in the town of Bardale, in the southern Bay region during a cargo flight transporting medical supplies to help fight against the coronavirus. The crash left six passengers dead.

While Somalia’s Transport Minister, Mohamed Salad, declined to speculate on the cause of the crash, a former defense minister told Reuters he had spoken to a witness at the airfield who said it may have been shot down.

Mayday details

The flight chartered by an NGO from Ethiopia to Baidoa, Somalia went down near Bardale airport. The Southwestern Minister for Transport, Hassan Hussein Mohamed confirmed the impact killed two Kenyan pilots and four passengers.

While the State-run Somalia News Agency had not confirmed the cause of the sinister, local media reports state that a rocket propeller shot down the airplane.

Kenya’s Foreign Affairs Ministry said, “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.”

According to Reuters, the Foreign Affairs Ministry said President Farmajo invited the Kenyan civil aviation authorities to team up with their Somalia counterparts “with a view to completing the investigations expeditiously,”

The report also mentions that Somalia’s al-Qaeda-linked insurgency al-Shabaab has a presence in the area where the plane came down, though the nearby area is secured by Somali forces and Ethiopian troops.