A leaked report from the office of the force commander of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), Lieutenant General Tigabu Yima, suggests that Ethiopian troops shot down the Kenyan-registered cargo plane carrying medical supplies to address the COVID-19 pandemic. The plane crashed as it was approaching the airfield in the southern Somali city of Bardale on May 6, resulting in the death of all six people on board.
The downing of the plane has led to heightened tensions among Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia.
A peacekeeping mission comprised of Ethiopian and Somalian troops is stationed in Bardale, but the leaked report alleges that Ethiopian troops not affiliated with the mission were responsible for shooting down the cargo plane, mistakenly believing it was about to carry out a suicide attack due to its irregular flight path. The downing of the plane has led to heightened tensions among Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia, the former two having several thousand troops deployed in Somalia to combat the al-Shabab jihadist group.
This latest incident has particularly unnerved Somali officials, who have openly wondered why Ethiopian troops not affiliated with peacekeeping missions are actively engaged in Somalia. A joint investigation involving officials from Kenya and Somalia is currently under way, with a preliminary report expected to be released within forty-five days. Analysis of the aircraft’s black box could take up to three months.