The airport official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media, saw the attack on the Russian-built plane in this chaotic capital. Another witness, who was outside the airport and identified himself only as Mohamed, had said a Ugandan military aircraft was shot down, and that police were arresting people around the airport, searching for suspects.
Muse Sheik Osman, who lives in the north of the capital, saw the burning plane come down. Osman said he heard the sound of an anti-aircraft missile being fired shortly before the crash.
Capt. Paddy Ankunda, spokesman for the Ugandan peacekeepers in Somalia, said he had heard reports of a plane crash, but did not have any information to confirm whether a crash took place, or what aircraft may have been involved.
"I have heard rumors, but this is something we cannot confirm at this time, but we cannot deny it," he said.