A military cargo plane crashed just a few minutes after takeoff from the Ndjili International Airport in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The plane crashed into an agricultural estate in the N’sele area in eastern Kinshasa.
One death was confirmed by the airport’s manager who told the media that the aircraft had only one military crew and no civilian passenger. “There is no survivor,” George Tabora is quoted to have said.
The casualty figure is, however, the subject of contention as local media portal news.cd has said there were as many as “nine military personnel and other logistics officials,” on board.
Even though there is an official probe underway for the cause of the crash, the portal advances “technical reasons” for the accident. The AFP news agency, for its part, mentions “several dozen deaths” citing independent sources.
The plane, piloted by a Russian crew, was carrying “two vehicles and ammunition,” an anonymous source at the army headquarters confirmed. According to this source, there were “between 20 and 30 people” aboard the aircraft.
The plane was headed for Bukavu, the capital of the South Kivu province. The province is currently experiencing heavy fighting between rebels and government forces in the town of Uvira, the second city of the province.
The Congolese government announced on Thursday that it had “cleared any rebel presence” in the restive eastern part of the country. The army, however, continues efforts at consolidating security, Lambert Mende, the spokesman of the Congolese government said.