Video shows 'airport workers hand laptop to suspected suicide bomber who blew hole in passenger plane'

Mogadishu airport workers appear to hand laptop bag to suspected suicide bomber in video released by Somali intelligence officials

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The Independent Online

A video has emerged showing two men handing what looks like a laptop concealing a bomb to a suspected suicide bomber who then detonated it in a passenger plane. 

The footage, released on Sunday by Somali government officials, shows two apparent airport workers hand the computer to Abdullahi Abdisalam Borle, the lone suspect in Tuesday’s attack who was sucked out of the jet after blowing a hole in the fuselage mid-air. The item, believed to be the device which caused the explosion which ripped a hole in the fuselage of Daallo Airlines Flight 3159, was handed to the suspect after he had passed through security.

Although Borle was the only fatality in the blast, the pilot believes that the Airbus 320, which had 74 passengers on board, would have crashed had it been at a higher altitude when the bomb was detonated.

The hole seen from inside the aircraft

Abdisalam Aoto, a Somali government spokesman, said, “At least 20 people, including the two men in the CCTV footage who handed over the laptop to the suspected bomber, were arrested in connection with the explosion in the aircraft.

“It was a deliberate act of terrorism. Investigations are still ongoing.”

Vlatoko Vodopivec, the pilot who returned the plane to Mogadishu airport to make an emergency landing, criticised the lack of security, saying: “The security is zero. When we park there, some 20 to 30 people come to the tarmac.”

“No one has a badge or those yellow vests. They enter and leave the plane, and no one knows who is who ... They can put anything inside when passengers leave the aircraft.”

Speaking in an interview in Belgrade, Mr Vodopivec, an experienced pilot, said:  “When we went past 10,000ft, we switched off the fasten belts sign and the cabin crew started serving passengers.”

“When we climbed past 11,000ft, it exploded. At first, I thought it was a window breaking. However, we soon sensed the smell of the explosives when smoke came rushing into the cockpit.

"The security is zero"

Vlatoko Vodopivec

“All lasted very shortly. We immediately demanded an emergency return to the airport because that was the only solution. 

He said that he made this decision “with a heavy heart” as “the security is minimal and we had to remain there for a couple of days afterward.”

The pilot continued, “You can land at the airport only from the sea side. On the other side of the runway is the city. 

“Bigger planes don’t land over the city because of security concerns. Some planes landed with bullet holes in their fuselage.”

Dubai-based Daallo Airlines has since temporarily suspended its operations in Mogadishu, and the Somali government has vowed to tighten security at the airport.

No militant group has claimed responsibility for the attack, however investigators believe that it may have been arranged by Islamic extremist group Al-Shabaab.