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Malian Su-25 crashes

The Su-25 that was inaugurated on 9 August crashed less than two months later. (Présidence de la République du Mali)

Mali's recently delivered Su-25 ground attack aircraft crashed in the vicinity of Gao airport at around 0930 h local time on 4 October, the Armed Forces of Mali (FAMa) confirmed later that day.

FAMa identified the aircraft as TZ-20C, and said it was returning from a mission in support of local civilians when it crashed.

In a subsequent update, FAMa indicated that the Su-25 crashed into the airbase, adding that the pilot and a member of the ground crew were killed and eight military personnel were injured, two seriously. The crash also caused minor injuries to two civilians. It said an investigation had been launched, but there was no indication that the crash was caused by hostile action.

The AFP reported seeing a video of the aircraft crashing at high speed and cited a military official as saying the pilot who was killed was Russian.

TZ-20C was first seen in public on 9 August when FAMa held an inauguration ceremony for several Russian-supplied aircraft at Bamako's international airport at Senou. While FAMa did not provide a full breakdown of the aircraft it had received, media coverage showed four L-39 light attack/trainer jets, an Mi-24P attack helicopter, and an Mi-8T utility helicopter.

Satellite imagery shows at least six L-39s were delivered, but only one Su-25 has been seen so far and was deployed to the Gao airbase later in August.

A leaked German military report, noting that Russian personnel and an L-39 had been seen at Gao after the French military completed its withdrawal on 15 August, said it is assumed Russians are operating the FAMa's new jets.

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