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Bardale crash ‘an accident’, Somali govt says amid ‘Ethiopian RPG’ claims

Storyline:National News

The African Express cargo plane that crashed Monday killing all six on board was ‘involved in an accident’ Somali government has said amid reports the plane may have been shot down.

The Aviation Ministry said in a statement the Kenyan registered aircraft number 5Y-AXO was operating as a cargo flight from Baidoa to Bardale when the incident happened.

“It is with deep regret that the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation to confirm (sic) an Embraer 120 aircraft operated by African Express was involved in an accident in Bardale around 15.30 hrs local time,” the statement read in part.

The cargo is reported to have been transporting humanitarian aid including medical supplies for the COVID-19 pandemic. Pictures from the scene show the plane in flames and parts scattered within the scene of the incident.

Multiple unconfirmed sources have indicated the aircraft was shot down shortly before landing. The South West region in Somalia remains one of the remaining strongholds of the militant group Al-Shabaab and is under the Ethiopian military under the AMISOM framework.

There was no immediate comment from AMISOM or the Ethiopian contingent. The  Kenyan government has also not issued any comment.