(Reuters) – A Kenyan warplane crashed in southern Somalia on Thursday, with the Kenyan military saying the crash was due to technical problems while Somali rebels said they had shot it down with a missile.
The aircraft, which had been on a combat mission, came down in the area of the southern port city of Kismayu, where Kenyan troops are deployed as part of an African Union peacekeeping force battling the Islamist rebel group al Shabaab.
A spokesman for the Kenya Defence Force (KDF) said the pilot reported a technical problem on returning from a combat mission at about 3 p.m. (1200 GMT) before he was forced to eject.
Al Shabaab said they had shot the plane down, however.
“We hit the Kenyan jet and downed it. It was bombing Bulaguduud town today,” the rebels’ spokesman for military operations, Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, told Reuters. He said the group used a missile and that the pilot was “burnt inside.”
Kenyan planes have often flown missions over Somalia since troops marched across the border in 2011, but al Shabaab has not previously shown it could target them with missiles.