15 February 2013

Liberia: Transport Officials in Guinea for Plane Crash

As Guinean authorities and international partners begin investigation into the recent air crash that killed eleven Guineans in Liberia, the Ministry of National Defense of Liberia has disclosed that two transport authorities from Liberia remained in the sisterly country to assist with the investigation.

Addressing the regular press briefing of the Ministry of Information, Culture Affairs & Tourism, Defense Minister, Brownie Samukai said following the death of the Guinean Army Chief of Staff along with other military personnel of the Guinean Army, the remains of the victims were flown back home under the appropriate military escort with a high power of Liberian delegation headed by him.

According to Minister Samukai, the bodies were received by Guinean authorities for appropriate burial. He said in order to assist with the investigation of the air crash in Liberia, the Minister of Transport, Eugene Nagbe and the head of the Liberia Aviation Authority remained in Guinea while he and other members of his delegation returned.

Min. Samukai said while in Guinea, his delegation extended condolence messages to the Government and people of that country and mostly the families of the victims. Samukai said his delegation also met with Guinean President Prof. Alpha Conde in an audience at which time he extended President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf's condolence message to the Guinean leader.

The Guinean Chief of Staff along with four other military personnel and five civilians including a journalist were killed on Monday when their aircraft crashed close to the Liberian capital Monrovia. Elhadji Abdoudaye Dore, the Guinean Ambassador to Liberia confirmed to newsmen in Monrovia minutes following the celebration of Liberia's Armed Forces Day.

Following the tragic incident, Liberian President, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf extended condolence to families of those killed in the Monday plane crash and declared a national day of mourning in memory of the killed Guinean nationals.

Guinea's military chief, General Kelefa Diallo, was on the plane on a security mission to Liberia, police in Guinea said. According to our information, Diallo was a close ally of Guinean President Alpha Conde, who was elected to lead the world's top bauxite producer in late 2010, ending two years of military rule.

"Senior Guinean military and defense officials were on the plane, "Reuters quoted Liberian Defense Minister, Brownie Samukai as saying. Minutes following the Armed Forces Day celebration, Liberian Government officials along with other dignitaries trooped to the site of the plane crash in Margibi County.

Whether the Liberian transport authorities will remain in Guinea for the completion of the investigation is yet to be established but Liberia has pledged to assist in the investigation at all levels.

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