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Last Updated on May 11, 2020

Ethiopian Soldiers Shot Down Kenyan Aid Plane in Somalia

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Last week a plane bound for Somalia crashed in the southern town of Bardale just before reaching its destination. Witnesses at the crash site said the plane appeared to have been shot down. There was no immediate explanation provided as to what happened to the plane.

On Saturday, the Ethiopian army admitted it was behind the shooting down of the privately owned Kenyan plane. Thus, resulting in the deaths of all six people on board.

In a statement to the African Union, the Ethiopian army said the plane was shot down on Monday by Ethiopian troops protecting a camp in the town of Bardale in southwestern Somalia

The aircraft had been carrying humanitarian and medical supplies to help the country fight the spread of coronavirus when it went down in Bardale. Bardale is about 300km (180 miles) northwest of Somalia’s capital Mogadishu.

The Ethiopian soldiers mistakenly believed the plane was on a potential suicide mission. According to the statement, the Ethiopian troops had not been informed about the unusual flight. The aircraft was also flying very low.

Related: Plane Carrying Coronavirus aid crashes in Somalia

“Because of lack of communication and awareness, the aircraft was shot down,” the military said. “The incident will require mutual collaborative investigation team from Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya to further understand the truth.”

Strained ties with Kenya and Somalia

Kenya had expressed their shock over the incident earlier this week saying the plane’s mission had been to aid Somalia in tackling the coronavirus pandemic.

Soldiers from Ethiopia and Kenya are among those deployed to Somalia as part of an AU peacekeeping mission to fight the armed group al-Shabab.

The shooting down of the plane comes amid strained ties between Kenya and Somalia.

Last month, Kenya accused Somali troops of an “unwarranted attack” across its border near Mandera, a northern outpost town, describing the incident as a provocation.

Somalia, meanwhile, has long accused its larger neighbour of meddling in its internal affairs, something Kenya has denied.

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