Kenyan pilot who perished in Somalia crash was expected back home Thursday, family says

Captain Mabruk Islam Sherman. [Photo courtesy]

A Kenyan captain and co-pilot are among the two Kenyans who perished when a light aircraft transporting medical supplies in Somalia crashed in Bardale region on Monday.

Captain Mabruk Islam Sherman, and his co-pilot Omar Chiraghdin left Mogadishu for Baidoa. They later took off headed for Bardale where the plane crashed at 3:45 pm. It is reportedly said that the plane was shot down killing four other passengers of Somali origin on board.

Before taking off from Mogadishu, the captain called his wife and three kids and informed them that he would be home by Thursday, May 7, 2020.

Hours later, eyewitnesses say the African Express Airways-owned Embraer 5Y-AXO aircraft came tumbling down in what is highly suspected to be as a result of a shot.

The Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) in a statement signed by Director General Captain Gilbert Kibe on Tuesday said that the African Express-owned aircraft had been operating in Somalia since March 2, 2020.

Bardale area is a hotbed for Al Shabaab militants although it has a strong presence of Somali National Army soldiers and Ethiopian troops according to Reuters.

Islam Sherman, the captain’s father, said he is lost with the loss of his son who was just 32 years old and was eager to return to Mombasa after a one-month stay in Somali.

“We talked and he said he would be in Mombasa by Thursday. It is unfortunate I cannot see my son again,” Sherman stated.

The families of the two slain pilot are demanding answers from the government saying they have not been told anything much to explain what exactly happened to their kin.

“We request the government to help us get the bodies. The families have been told that some people got out of the plane before it caught fire,” Sherman added plaintively.

President Uhuru Kenyatta was on Tuesday contacted by Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo who expressed his condolences to the bereaved families.

He said that immediate investigations would commence establishing what exactly led to the crash of the aircraft.

Somali Federal Republic Transport Minister Mohamed Salad said a team was on Tuesday dispatched to conduct investigations and welcomed assistance from the international community on the issue.