Congolese cargo plane with eight people missing on board

A Congolese cargo plane, used by the services of President Felix Tshisekedi, was missing yesterday over the east of Congo with eight people aboard. The Congolese civil aviation authority (AAC) reports this. “The hypothesis of a crash is getting stronger,” said Giscard Kusema, a spokesperson for the president.

The aircraft was used for Tshisekedi’s visit to the east of the country. Jeune Afrique reports, based on sources at the presidency, that the wreck was found in the eastern province of Maniema.

The aircraft, an Antonov 72, carried out logistical operations for Congolese president Félix Tshisekedi. Onboard the aircraft were four crew members and four passengers. The four passengers were three soldiers of the Republican Guard and Tshisekedi’s regular driver. The aircraft also transported President’s vehicles. The crew consisted of Ukrainians, various sources say.

“We know the aircraft took off in terrible weather conditions,” said Kusema. The cargo plane “lost contact with the control center (…) 59 minutes after takeoff” in Goma, says AAC.

Tshisekedi returned to the capital Kinshasa last night after a visit to the region around the eastern city of Beni, in the province of North Kivu. Beni and the surrounding area are known as one of the most unstable areas of Congo.

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