Footage of the Il-76 plane crash on Sept. 23 was posted on X at least as early as Wednesday, Sept. 27, showing the aircraft skidding off the runway and catching fire.
2023-09-23: Video footage emerged of the crashed Ilyushin IL-76 (TZ-98T) at Gao Airport, Mali. The aircraft is seen landing on runway 06 at overrunning the end of it at high speed until it broke into parts and caught fire. pic.twitter.com/pDo7lL9IwT— JACDEC (@JacdecNew) September 27, 2023
Deutsche Welle, citing information from the UN mission in Mali, reported that the Russian-made plane – registered in Belarus with the tail number EW-412TH – crashed during its morning landing at Gao airport, skidding off the runway.
The overloaded plane carried both Malian soldiers and individuals associated with the Wagner PMC, Deutsche Welle reported.
On his Telegram channel, Oleksandr Kovalenko, a Ukrainian military-political observer with the Information Resistance group, said that the crash claimed the lives of 140 individuals, including Malian military personnel and Wagner mercenaries.
The causes of the plane crash are currently under investigation. A source from the local publication Malijet suggested that a malfunction in the aircraft's fuel tank may have been a contributing factor.
As of Sept. 27, Ukrainian intelligence was unavailable for comment.
Gao airport is used by Malian soldiers, Wagner PMC mercenaries, and UN stabilization mission military personnel.
Mali has faced an insurgency by Islamic extremists for several years, beginning in 2012 in the northern part of the country and spreading to Niger and Burkina Faso.
The 2021 Malian coup d'état commenced on the night of May 24 when the Malian Army, led by Vice President Assimi Goïta, detained President Bah N'daw, Prime Minister Moctar Ouane, and Minister of Defense Souleymane Doucouré. After seizing power, the military promptly called for the withdrawal of UN peacekeepers from the country.
The new Malian government is cooperating with Russia and Wagner PMC militants. France and Germany, on the other hand, have expressed concerns about Wagner Group interference with the UN mission's work.
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