Report: Somalia

Somalia government shuts down Mogadishu airport after plane crash

An Ethiopian military aircraft carrying ammunition crash-landed at Mogadishu's international airport, 9 August
An Ethiopian military aircraft carrying ammunition crash-landed at Mogadishu's international airport, 9 August Reuters/AU UN IST Photo/Tobin Jones

An Ethiopian military cargo plane crashed at Mogadishu International Airport in Somalia on Friday, sending plumes of dark smoke into the air and killing four.

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According to eye witnesses, the plane burst into flames upon crash-landing at the airport,  killing four crew members and injuring two others.

"Two are currently receiving medical attention at the Amisom [African Union Mission in Somalia] hospital in Mogadishu,” according to a statement by the African Union force.

A police officer at the airport confirmed that the crashed jet, which came in from Ethiopia, was carrying military equipment to be used by African Union troops.

In 2011, Ethiopia sent troops into southwest Somalia to fight Shebab Islamist insurgents, alongside the Amisom force.

During a press conference near the Mogadishu airport on Friday, Somalia’s Deputy Information Minister Abdishakur Mire said that the crash was caused by a technical problem: "The cause was natural," he said.

Somalia's government has decided to temporarily close the airport until further notice.

"Because of the disaster that happened today, we have halted all flights coming and going from Mogadishu airport,” he told reporters.

Nick Kay, the UN special representative to Somalia, offered his condolences via Twitter for the "tragic crash."

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