Today the African Union family woke up to the confirmation of our worst fears, as names of friends, colleagues, and loved ones were confirmed to be among the 157 souls who perished on Ethiopian Airlines ET302 that tragically crashed shortly after takeoff from Bole International Airport yesterday.
Upon hearing the news yesterday, the Chairperson immediately issued a message to express solidarity with the families of all passengers and crew members, as well as with the Ethiopian Government and people.
Today, after verification with the relevant Departments and Ethiopian authorities, we are sad to confirm that the African Union family was not spared in this tragedy.
Christine Alalo, Acting Police Commissioner with the African Union Mission In Somalia (AMISOM). She was returning to Mogadishu from official travel via Nairobi. She is a Ugandan national.
Professor Pius Adesanmi, a Canadian national of Nigerian origin, was Director of the Institute of African Studies at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada and a leading Pan-Africanist scholar. Prof Adesanmi was traveling to an AU Economic, Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC) meeting as an invited diaspora expert and consultant for the AU.
Mr Karim Saafi, a diaspora youth leader in Europe and a co-founder of the African Diaspora Youth in Europe (ADYFE). Mr Saafi was travelling to an AU Economic, Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC) meeting as an invited diaspora expert. Mr Saafi is a French citizen of Tunisian origin.
Ambassador Abiodun Bashua, a veteran diplomat, was a consultant in the Office of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission until the end of February 2019. Ambassador Bashua is a Nigerian citizen.
Abdelsalam Douaa Atef Abdelsalam, Megali Abdelhamid Farrag Mohamed and Hisham Abdelgadir Abukalam Ahmed were delegates to a training workshop for the InterAfrican Bureau for Animal Resources (IBARR), an AU specialized agency. Mr Abdelsalam and Ms Mohamed are Egyptian nationals. Mr Ahmed is a national of Sudan.
We also learned that Ms Suzan Abul Farag and Ms Esmat Orensa, two associate interpreters with longstanding ties to the AU Commission, and who we considered colleagues, were also among those onboard.
All of these colleagues were committed peacemakers, diplomats and development workers, working for and on behalf of the Continent, some under difficult circumstances and far from their loved ones. They died in the line of duty for all that we hold dear, and for that we owe them our highest esteem.
United in grief, our deepest condolences and prayers goes to their families and may their souls of the departed rest in perfect peace. The African Union Commission will continue to fly its flag at half-mast in honour of all the people killed in ET302.
We wish to take this opportunity to reaffirm our solidarity with the Ethiopian government and people as we go through this difficult period together.