Contact Lost with Cargo Plane, Says Congo’s Gomair

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The Congolese aviation firm Gomair lost contact with a cargo plane on Thursday evening as it was flying back to Kinshasa after delivering materials for the upcoming presidential election, a senior manager at the airline told Reuters.

It was not immediately clear how many people were on board. Air accidents are relatively frequent in Congo due to lax safety standards.

“We are still conducting research so we are not able to give precise details on whether the plane went lost or it has crashed,” Gomair’s financial director, Jean de Dieu Gato Karekezi, said by telephone on Friday.

Karekezi said the plane had been rented by the national electoral commission (CENI) to deliver election materials to Tshikapa, a city near the border with Angola, and contact was lost as it flew back to the capital.

A CENI spokeswoman said the agent who had taken the flight to Tshikapa had stayed there, but she did not provide any further information.

The incident follows a tumultuous week in Democratic Republic of Congo, which has seen the long-anticipated election postponed for a week due to logistical issues, clashes between protesters and police, and the deaths of over 100 people in fights between ethnic groups in the northwest. (Reuters)