An aircraft from the airline Cameroon Airlines Corporation (Camair-Co) was shot during its landing in Bamenda, western Cameroon. No injuries were reported.
The Xian MA-60, registered TJ-QDB, was carrying out flight QC272 from Douala International Airport (DLA) to Bamenda Airport (BPC) on December 1, 2019, and was about to land when it was targeted by multiple shots from light firearms. Despite the attack, the aircraft managed to land, and no injuries were reported among the passengers and crew members. The number of people on board was unspecified, but the Xian MA-60, a Chinese turboprop based on the Antonov An-24, that Camair-Co operates are configured to carry up to 45 passengers. Pictures published on social media show one bullet impact near a passenger window.
Ce dimanche matin à Bamenda, des passagers de Camair-Co affirment que leur avion a été pris pour cible par des tireurs non encore identifiés.
Pas de blessés. pic.twitter.com/ebhicuskDZ
— Lucien Bodo (@lucienbodo) December 1, 2019
Praising the “bravery of the captain”, Camair-Co announced that the aircraft would be grounded while “relevant technical authorities” review the damage. The company’s flight schedule was adjusted to limit the impact on its operations.
Responsibility for the attack was claimed by separatist forces from Cameroon. The region of Bamenda is at the heart of a violent conflict opposing the army with separatists from an English-speaking minority aiming to establish an independent Anglophone state called Ambazonia. Cho Ayaba, a separatist leader, told Reuters he suspected Camair Co was using commercial flights to transport troops and material. “If we cannot confirm, we will consider all planes coming in as a security risk,” he said. “This is war.” Since 2017, the conflict killed 1,800 people and displaced more than 500,000 according to the United Nations.
Camair-Co is the flag carrier of Cameroon that succeeded the defunct Cameroon Airlines in 2006. It currently operates a fleet of six aircraft on seven national and three regional routes