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July 08, 2013

Somali President’s Plane Makes Emergency Landing

by Gabe Joselow

A plane carrying Somalia’s president made an emergency landing in Mogadishu Monday, according to government officials.  A problem with the engine was to blame.

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and his delegation were heading to South Sudan, to attend that country’s Independence Day celebrations planned for Tuesday.

A Somali government spokesman says the plane had been in the air for about 20 minutes when one of the pilots reported a problem with one of the aircraft’s two engines.

The plane landed safely back at the Mogadishu airport, and no one was reported injured.

Officials say the president took another plane to South Sudan.

By Monday afternoon there was still no word on what caused the plane to malfunction.

An eyewitness, who identified himself by the name Ali, said he saw smoke coming from the plane as it returned to the airport.

“Then the president and other officials disembarked from the plane,” he said.  “Then fire engines were brought to put out the fire.  That is all I saw.”

The incident came the same day Somali officials celebrate the first landing of an Air Uganda flight from Kampala. 

The airline has scheduled three flights a week to Mogadishu, and now joins Turkish Airlines as the second international carrier to fly to the city, which was long considered too unsafe for commercial flights.