Kenyan authorities have started an investigation into the helicopter crash that claimed the lives of six Kenyans, including the Interior Minister, George Saitoti.
The manufacturer of the A350 B32 or Squirrel helicopter, Eurocopter, is sending a team of experts to assist with the investigation, AFP says. Eurocopter confirmed the helicopter was delivered to Kenya’s Police Air Wing last December. The company said in a statement:
"The helicopter had logged about 230 flight hours since new and was last serviced at the end of May 2012."
Investigators from the country’s police force, the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) and the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority have sealed off the area as a first step in the investigation.
The almost new (five months old) aircraft went down in an area described as “mountainous” as well as “wooded”. A policeman at the crash site said:
"Most probably it was caused by bad weather, it was foggy at the time it went down."Digital Journal reported that Saitoti was the minister who made the announcement that Kenya would enter Somalia to take on the Al-Shabaab terrorist organisation, which is linked to Al Qaeda. Saitoti had been a strong supporter of action against Shabaab terrorists, who had killed tourists in Kenya on numerous occasions.
The group expressed satisfaction about the minister’s death, saying on their Twitter feed:
"(Shabaab) welcomes the death of the evil minister upon whose authorisation thousands of Muslims suffered both in Somalia and in Kenya."
The group continued:
"For the hundreds of Muslims killed and displaced by Kenya's brutal invasion, Saitoti's death is but a droplet of justice in a sea of oppression. The remaining invaders should be expectant that Allah will inflict his punishment by himself upon the kuffar (infidels) or by the hands of mujahideen."
In contrast to his enemies, William Hague, Britain’s Foreign Secretary said:
“I was extremely saddened to learn of the death of Professor George Saitoti, along with his assistant minister Orwa Ojode and other Kenyans travelling with them this morning. On behalf of the British government, I wish to extend my deepest condolences. My thoughts are with their families and friends, and the people of Kenya, as they come to terms with this tragedy.”
As reported by Newstime Africa. Kenya News24 reports that this is the third such crash since President Mwai Kibaki took power. In January 2003, a light aircraft carrying six government minister crashed, and in 2008, a Cessna light plane carrying two cabinet ministers went down, crashing into a building in Narok, a town near the capital.