A Mysterious Plane Crash Could Worsen Tensions Between Kenya and Somalia

A Mysterious Plane Crash Could Worsen Tensions Between Kenya and Somalia
Kenyan police patrol at night after the start of a daily dusk-to-dawn curfew in Nairobi, Kenya, May 6, 2020 (AP photo by Brian Inganga).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, Andrew Green curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent.

The mysterious crash this week of a cargo plane registered in Kenya that was delivering COVID-19 relief supplies in neighboring Somalia is threatening to exacerbate existing political tensions between the two countries. After leaving Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, the private aircraft made one medical supply drop before heading to Bardale, a town in Somalia’s southern Bay region. A local Somali official told the Associated Press that a projectile hit the plane as it approached the Bardale runway. The six-person crew, made up of two Kenyans and four Somalis, were all killed.

Kenya’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs immediately demanded an investigation, warning the crash could impact “humanitarian operations at a time of highest need.” In response, Somalia’s president, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, ordered his country’s civil aviation authorities to work with their Kenyan counterparts to explore the cause of the crash—an attempt to ratchet down his government’s already fraught relationship with Nairobi.

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