A Russian pilot & a member of ground crew staff died on Tuesday when a plane that Russia recently delivered to Mali’s armed forces crashed near the northern city of Gao. The military official stated in a statement.
As per video shared by a witness showed an aircraft disembarking at high pace before crashing in a plume of smoke.
On condition of anonymity, a military official said a Russian pilot had been killed.
The general staff of the army’s general said a pilot and a “ground crew member” lost their lives, without giving their nationalities.
It added that, “Ten more people including two civilians and eight members of the military- were wounded, two gravely.”
The army had earlier confirmed a plane had crashed near Gao airport at around 9:30 am “on its way back from a mission to support the civilian population.”
It said it was a Sukhoi Su-25, but the military official previously identified the plane as an Albatros, a Soviet-era Czechoslovakian-built model.
Both were among the equipment Russia delivered to the Malian army in August.
While speaking on condition of anonymity, the official added the aircraft was one of the Malian army’s “new acquisitions.”
Mali’s ruling junta, which has seized power in August 2020, has turned away from the country’s traditional ally France and toward Russia.
The Kremlin’s support has included large numbers of ground operatives, who Mali describes as military trainers but who western countries say are paramilitaries with the private organization Wagner, as well as combat aircraft and helicopters.
Mali has faced a jihadist insurgency since 2012. Violence that started in the northern region of the country has spread to central & southern Mali, as well as to neighbouring region of Burkina Faso and Niger.