Two army personnel have been killed after a military plane, delivered to Mali’s armed forces by Russia, crashed near the northern city of Gao.
According to a statement issued by the Malian Armed Forces, the aircraft was a Sukhoi SU-25, one of six military aircraft that Russia delivered to the Malian Air Force in August 2022.
The Sukhoi SU-25, which was being flown by a Russian pilot, was returning from a mission to support civilians in the region.
#Mali There are reports of a plane crash near the airport in #Gao. Unconfirmed reports indicate that it was a Su-25 jet that was handed over only two months ago. No word yet on the condition of the crew and whether there may have been casualties on the ground. https://t.co/dB2IziOll4 pic.twitter.com/qBhUbpiqKJ— Fabian (@fabsenbln) October 4, 2022
The Russian pilot and a military aircraft personnel on the ground were both killed, while two civilians and eight military personnel were injured. The statement said that two of those injured are in serious condition.
The Sukhoi SU-25 has a far greater speed and payload capacity compared to the L-39 and Embraer EMB 314 Tucano, which are currently being operated by the Mali Air Force. The aircraft is armed with a 30 mm cannon and can embark up to four tons of ammunition.
The statement from the Malian Armed Forces said that the incident is being investigated, although “at this stage” it does not appear to be the result of “hostile action”.
Gao International Airport (GAQ), also known as Korogoussou Airport, is an airport in Gao, Mali. It is used as a base for the UN peacekeeping mission United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).
GAQ airport was briefly shut after the crash but is now fully operational.