Categories: Middle East & North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, Mauritania, Citizen Media, Digital Activism, Disaster, Governance, Politics, Youth
On July 12, 2012, a Mauritanian military plane crashed in Nouakchott airport. The accident took the life of three soldiers (including one officer), as well as two custom officials and two contract security guards, working on the behalf of the Canadian company. According to sources, the pilot sensed some technical malfunction during takeoff and while trying to return to the airport airstrip, a fire broke out in the cockpit and then he lost control over his aircraft which fell in one of the airport bushes.
After the plane fell, it kept burning in front people residing nearby the place of the accident and this was due to the delay of fire brigades to get on site who had a breakdown in their vehicle.
The plane was heading towards Tasiast company to transport gold as part of an agreement between the Mauritanian army and the Canadian company. This is not the first accident in Mauritania which has witnessed similar sad events in the recent years.
Photo calling for the mourning (for a civilian regime), shared by Mauritanian activists following the accident
The crash represented a shock and led many Mauritanian political parties and movements to issue condolences to the victims while asking to open a probe into the causes of the crash. In that respect, the coordination committee of the Mauritanian opposition issued a statement [ar]:
بهذه المناسبة الأليمة تتقدم منسقية المعارضة الديمقراطية قيادات ومناضلين، بتعازيها القلبية للجيش والجمارك الوطنيين ولأسر الضحايا راجية لهم الرحمة والغفران ولذويهم الصبر والسلوان وإنا لله وإنا إليه راجعون.
In that sad event, the opposition coordination committee on behalf of its leadership and members, presents its heartily condolences to the army and national customs and to the families of the victims, praying God to grant them His mercy and forgiveness and patience to their relatives. ‘Surely we belong to God and to Him shall we return
The opposition February 25 Movement issued a statement [ar] calling for an investigation into the accident. Below is a video of the plane on fire, aired by آخر خبر (Latest News) channel on YouTube, used with permission:
Netizens also had their say on the accident. Mauritanian blogger Mohammed Al Amine Weld el Fadel commented:
إن تقصير موريتانيا الرسمية ( الحكومة، وزارة الدفاع، قيادة الجيش، الإعلام الرسمي)، والتي كانت غائبة اليوم، وهي كثيرا ما تقصر، لا يبرر بأي حال من الأحوال لموريتانيا الشعبية أن تقصر، ولا أن تتخذ ردة فعل لا تتناسب مع حجم فاجعة اليوم.
The failure of the official Mauritania (Government, Ministry of Defense, Army, mainstream media) which was absent today and which is often failing to meet its obligation, doesn't justify at all the failure of Mauritania and its lack of reaction compared to the extent of today's tragedy
12 يوليو 2012 كان يوما أليما، اختلف عن سائر أيامنا الأليمة! ففيه راحت مجموعة من أبناء قواتنا المسلحة الباسلة ضحية لكوميسيوهات الأحكام العسكرية المتعاقبة ،، ضحية لغياب أبسط شروط السلامة في المعدات “المتهالكة” التي تشتريها هذه الأحكام.
July 12 was a painful day, which differed from the rest of our painful days!!! On that day, some of our courageous armed forces were the victims of the successive military regimes, victims of the lack of the most basic safety conditions in those worn out equipment acquired by those regimes.
Mohammed Salem tweeted about the big number of aviation accidents:
@Sirius_MR لي ثلاثة أصدقاء طيارين عسكريين. .. قد تكون الضحية القادمة أحدهم. رحم الله ولد إياهي !
I have three military pilots friends. One of them could be the next victim. May God have mercy!
@Sirius_MR بالمناسبة الطائرة من نفس طراز الطائرة التي تحطمت بفرقة الجوق العسكري قبل 15 عاما.
By the way, the plane is the same type as the one who crashed 15 years ago with the military choir
Activist Abdul Fattah Habib commented :
@afetah ذكرني بهذا الحديث حادث الطائرة فالبعض يدرس ويعمل وقد يكون جزء من النظام وهو لا يعلم أنه بداخل هذا النظام أسباب وفاته أوأسباب فقد ماله.
This accident reminds me of the following: some study and work and might be part of that system without knowing that within that system lies the cause of their death or bankruptcy
Journalist Ahmed Mustapha speaks about the reasons behind the plane crash:
@ahmedou0086 ثقب في خزان الوقود كان وراء سقوط طائرتنا العسكرية… اللهم ارحم من قضوا فيها وألهم ذويهم الصبر والسلوان..!!
A hole in the fuel tank was the reason behind the crash of our military plane! Oh Lord please have mercy on those who died and grant their relatives patience
Activist Tah Habib criticized the absence of probe committees in all the previous plane crashes accidents in Mauritania:
@tahabibقلما تمر سنة دون أن تتحطم طائرة من ‘أسطولنا’ العسكري ويذهب ضحية لذلك شباب من خيرة ضباطنا، ولم نسمع عن أية لجنة تحقيق جدية.
Rarely a year passes without a plane from our military fleet crashing and claiming the lives of some of our best officers and we never hear about any serious investigation committee.
Some activists also created a virtual funeral for the victims on Facebook.