Johannesburg/Mogadishu – The man who bombed a passenger plane of Dubai-based Daallo Airlines in Somalia was initially due to fly on Turkish Airlines, the CEO of Daallo Airlines said on Monday.
The Somali bomber was booked on a Turkish Airlines flight scheduled for the same day, but it was cancelled and the passengers were referred to Daallo Airlines to travel, Mohamed Yasin told dpa.
Turkish Airlines “asked us to take up passengers,” he said. “They said it was because of bad weather.”
Somali officials have quoted preliminary investigations as showing that the explosion, which tore a hole on the side of the plane on February 2, was caused by a bomb.
It was detonated at the height of about 3 000 metres 15 minutes after take-off from Mogadishu, prompting the pilot to turn back from his route towards Djibouti.
The airline said two of the 74 people on board sustained slight injuries and one was unaccounted for.
Authorities in the nearby town of Bal’ad located the remains of a man, believed to be the bomber, who had allegedly fallen through the hole created by the blast.
The 55-year-old Somali may have detonated an explosive device, and possibly also explosives in his laptop, according to police sources.
Intelligence officials have released a video showing two men handing a laptop to the bomber at the airport.
One of the men, who has been identified as an airport employee, was killed in a car bombing near the airport on Friday, investigators said.
They expressed suspicion that the Islamist group al-Shabaab – believed to be behind the bombing – wanted to eliminate him to hamper the investigation.