Somali Al-Shabaab militant group linked to bid to blow up Djibouti-bound passenger plane

The explosion did not damage the plane's navigation system, and this is what enabled the pilot to make the emergency landing

 THE militant group al-Shabaab was responsible for the bomb blast on Feb. 2 that forced a Daallo Airlines passenger jet to make an emergency landing at Mogadishu airport, Somalia’s minister of air transport and civil aviation said following an investigation by the East African country’s government.

“After a careful investigation, we found out that al- Shabaab was behind the attack,” Ali Ahmed Jama told reporters Saturday at a news conference in Somalia’s capital. 

“In fact, such attacks against innocents are typical work of al-Shabaab,” he said, referring to the Islamic militant group linked to al-Qaeda. Jama said the bomb, which blew a hole in the fuselage of the Airbus A321 jet carrying 74 passengers, was intended to kill as many as possible. 

One person died in the incident. The plane had been in the air for about 15 minutes, en route to Djibouti, when the incident occurred, according to the airline’s Facebook page. 

The explosion did not damage the plane’s navigation system, and this is what enabled the pilot to make the emergency landing.

Video footage taken after the blast showed people having moved to the back of the plane with emergency oxygen masks dangling down as wind rushed around the main cabin, although most passengers appeared fairly calm. 

Daallo Airlines operates out of Djibouti, flying to destinations in the Horn of Africa and the Gulf.

The investigation was carried out jointly by the Somali intelligence agency and international experts specialiSing in bomb-related issues, Jama said. 

Security forces had arrested people in connection with the blast, Jama added, although he declined to say how many. Representatives of al-Shabaab weren’t available to comment. The group hasn’t claimed responsibility for the incident.

-Bloomberg

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