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Few readers will be aware that, on 4 th May, an Embraer EMB-120 passenger plane operated by African Express Airways was shot down with the loss of all on-board.
The aircraft was making a humanitarian flight from Baidoa to Berdale in Somalia, carrying medical supplies for the country’s fight against covid-19. It was downed by Ethiopian soldiers who apparently mistook its “unusual” flight path for a “potential suicide mission” by Al Shabaab, the Islamist terror group.
Six people died, including Captain Hassan Bulhan, the son of the airline’s owner.
Four months earlier, Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 (PS752) was blown out of the sky by Iranian soldiers who feared it was a cruise missile launched by the US military. That catastrophe claimed 176 lives.
And six years ago – in what was supposed to be a watershed moment for the airline industry – Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 (MH17) was shot down by Russia-backed rebels over the skies of eastern Ukraine. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) pledged to honour the 298 victims of that tragedy by ensuring that “civilian airliners will never again be brought down by weapons of war”.
Clearly, those words now ring hollow...