UN Joins DR Congo To Search For Missing Plane

UN forces in the Democratic Republic of Congo have sent three aircraft to help search for a DRC government cargo plane with eight people on board missing since Thursday.

The plane, which had been supplying equipment for a visit to Goma by President Felix Tshisekedi, disappeared after taking off in bad weather from the eastern city.

The UN peacekeeping mission MONUSCO sent two planes and a helicopter on Saturday to try to locate the Antonov 72 plane, whose crew included two Russians according to Moscow’s embassy in Kinshasa.

If the plane is found, MONUSCO would do everything it could to get help to the crew, spokeswoman Florence Marshal told AFP.

“But the weather is not making the task any easier,” she added.

Congolese aircraft are already searching for the missing plane, which according to the DRC’s Civil Aviation Authority (AAC) was lost 59 minutes after takeoff.

Tshisekedi returned to Kinshasa late Thursday after his visit to Goma, the second to the strife-torn Beni region since taking office in January from Joseph Kabila, who ruled the DRC for 17 years.

Several hundred Tshisekedi supporters took part in an anti-Kabila demonstration on Friday, accusing followers of the former president of being behind the crash.

But aviation accidents involving Antonovs are fairly common in DR Congo, sometimes involving a large loss of life.

Tshisekedi was sworn in as president in January and allied himself with Kabila, whose supporters control parliament and the regional assemblies.

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