Monday, February 8, 2016

Investigation of Somali Plane Bomb Underway

Last Tuesday, an explosion occurred on a passenger plane after it took off from Somalia's main airport, forcing the captain to make an emergency landing. The source of the explosion was later revealed to be a bomb, the detonation of which resulted in a one-meter sized hole in the side of the Airbus fifteen minutes after it left the airport (the flight was headed from Mogadishu to Djibouti). 

Although a technical malfunction was originally thought to be the source of the explosion, Somali Transport and Aviation Minister Ali Ahmed Jama stated in a press conference that it was due to "a bomb that was intended to destroy the plane and kill all passengers on board" (1). The only death resulting from the detonation was that of Abdullahi Abdisalam Borleh, who was initially missing, then later identified and declared dead. Investigators now suspect Borleh of carrying a laptop containing the bomb onto the plane. The video above, released by CCTV on Sunday, shows two airport workers handling the laptop, then handing it to Borleh. Somalia has reached out to the United States for aid in the investigations, and several FBI agents are now in Mogadishu.

Although the case is still under investigation, some officials believe it to be the work of Al-Shabaab, an al Qaeda affiliate(4). However, no group has claimed responsibility yet, and it is not yet certain whether Borleh was a member of any group. What do you think is the real story behind this event? Do you think it will have an effect on US foreign policy?


1 comment:

Adjon Tahiraj said...

I think it is too premature to come to any conclusions at this stage of the investigation, but I think that this was an attempted plane bombing by someone of a terrorist organization; however, I'm not sure that it was al qaeda or any of the major organizations. I believe so only because the bomb failed to achieve its goal, which was to kill everyone on that plane. I think that if it was one of the big terrorist groups, they would make sure that the bomb worked and was big enough, before risking things on something that would't work.

As to U.S. policy, I do not think this will have much of an effect on our policy. I just don't think the event was big enough to trigger any want for change in our policy.