Surveillance video footage taken at the international airport in Somalia’s capital shows two men handing what appears to be a laptop computer to the suspected suicide bomber after he passed through the security checkpoint. At least one of the men delivering the laptop-like device was an airport employee, Somali government spokesman Abdisalam Aato told the Associated Press Sunday.
"At least 20 people, including the two men in the CCTV footage who handed over the laptop to the suspected bomber, were arrested in connection with the explosion in the aircraft," Aato reportedly said.
The man who received the laptop is the suspected suicide bomber who detonated on board the Somalia-owned Daallo Airlines plane in mid-air last week, as it took off from Aden Adde International airport in Mogadishu. The explosion failed to down the commercial jet, but it left a gaping hole in the fuselage. The force of the blast sucked the alleged bomber out of the plane’s cabin. His body fell to the ground near the district of Bal’ad, about 20 miles from the capital, where it was recovered by authorities. The pilot of the Airbus A321 was forced to make an emergency landing just minutes after takeoff.
The security footage released Sunday shows two men – one wearing a bright orange airport security vest – handing over what looks like a laptop case to a passenger waiting to board. Investigators said the laptop-like bag contained the bomb that was detonated on board the Djibouti-bound flight, according to BBC News.
Investigators also suspect the bomber was able to bypass rigorous security screening at the airport by boarding the commercial plane in a wheelchair . Somali officials said the passenger who fell from the plane has been identified as Abdullahi Abdisalam Borleh, 55, from Somaliland. But they did not confirm if the man was the alleged suicide bomber. The crew and 73 other passengers on board survived, though two people, Abdirashid Abdi Islamil and Ismail Ali Osoble, were wounded.
The bomber and many other passengers aboard the Airbus A321 were originally checked in with Turkish Airlines, which canceled its flights due to bad weather. Turkish Airlines, which flies to Somalia three times per week, suspended its flights to the East African country after Tuesday’s incident. Mohamed Yassin, head of Daallo Airlines, said Turkish Airlines has not been in contact with them since.
"They were not our passengers. Turkish Airlines canceled its flight from Mogadishu that morning because their incoming flight from Djibouti could not come to Mogadishu because of what they said was strong wind," Yassin told Al Jazeera Sunday. "They requested we carry the passengers on their behalf to Djibouti where they would continue their journey on a Turkish Airlines flight.”
No group has yet taken responsibility for the blast, but a U.S. government source told Reuters last week that the United States suspects al-Shabab was behind the attack. The Somalia-based terrorist group, which is aligned with al Qaeda, has increased efforts in recent months to regain control of lost territories in Somalia, while seeking to topple the country’s Western-backed government. The militants recaptured Somalia’s key port city of Merca, some 45 miles from the capital, Friday.