Plane crashes in Mogadishu, Somalia
March 23, 2007
Mogadishu, Somali - A plane has crashed shortly after taking off from the main airport in the Somali capital, Mogadishu.
Local witnesses said they saw columns of smoke on the ground. The cause of the crash was not immediately known.
One reporter said he saw a missile hit the plane but this is not confirmed. It crashed in the northern suburbs, where there was no fighting on Friday.
A spokesman for the Uganda peacekeepers in Somalia, who control the airport, said 11 people were on board.
"I saw the plane on fire... One of the wings exploded in the air... When it hit the ground, another explosion occurred," local resident Hassan Mahamud Jama told Reuters news agency.
Some reports said the plane crashed because of a mechanical failure.
Capt Paddy Ankunda, spokesman for Uganda's peacekeepers in Somalia, said he was aware of reports of a plane crash but was unable to confirm this.
Mogadishu's international airport is located in the heart of the city.
Earlier, clan elders from the Hawiye clan which dominates Mogadishu said they had agreed a truce with the Ethiopian army, which helped install the government in they city last December.
However, some shooting continued in the south of the city.
One local resident said he had heard a number of large explosions and machine gunfire.
A government official, who did not want to be identified, told the BBC he had heard that Ethiopian tanks had been firing on buildings occupied by Islamist insurgents.
More than 20 people have died in clashes between insurgents and Ethiopia-backed government forces during two days of clashes - the heaviest fighting in the city this year.
Earlier this month, some 1,200 Ugandan peacekeepers arrived in the city to replace the Ethiopians who want to pull out.
Somalia has not had an effective national government since 1991.
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