April 13th, 2009
10:48 AM ET
7 years ago

Spokeswoman: Rep. Payne's plane fired on in Somalia

U.S. Rep. Donald Payne, D-New Jersey, meets with soldiers in Iraq in an undated photo.
U.S. Rep. Donald Payne, D-New Jersey, meets with soldiers in Iraq in an undated photo.

(CNN) - A plane carrying U.S. Rep. Donald Payne was fired on at the airport in Mogadishu, Somalia, but the plane and its passengers appear to have departed safely, a spokeswoman for the congressman said Monday.

"We understand that his plane was fired on and, as he left, we understand that a mortar landed on his plane, but that they have left safely and that no one was hurt," said Kerry McKenney, the spokeswoman in his Washington office, citing police officers at the airport as her source. "We are hoping that he's safe and on his way back home."

The New Jersey Democrat and chairman of the Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health was visiting Somalia because "he felt it was important to travel there to see first-hand what was happening," McKenney said.

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Filed under: Somalia
soundoff (76 Responses)
  1. SdJ

    Umm...why are there so many comments about Somali pirates? Do people realize that there's a CIVIL WAR in Somalia right now? Do people realize we engaged in military activity during said war since 2006? Probably not...

    Why do people have a bone to pick with a guy who is actually trying to help resolve conflict by going to the place in question? Our legislators have a profound impact on our foreign relations – arguably as much as the president. They have the power of the purse and the power to declare war. Don't you think those people SHOULD be travelling to the places they make decisions about?

    Seems like all the critics who are calling the guy sheltered, stupid, and unaware are hypocrites.

    April 13, 2009 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  2. Chipster

    "Where are they getting these high tech. guns and speed boats from?"

    ...from the same place they're getting their money. They're stealing it all from anyone they can! Now that some nations have paid huge ransoms, they can probably use the money to purchase weapons from gun runners. These are people in a desperately poor area of the world. They have formed criminal gangs. Some of them have become cartels and others are rogue but they all have one thing in common. They want money.

    April 13, 2009 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  3. Dave in Raleigh

    Shut this continent down.
    From Libya to S Africa, there is not a country with any true government structure or true rule of human rights.
    They do not serve the world in any way.
    Diamonds & Gold ... we can ALL do with out!
    By continuing to feed these parasites and eradicate the infestation of disease in these countries, all we are doing (as a civilized world) is postponing the inevitable and increasing their numbers.
    Providing aid to them is like feeding a cockroach or rat problem in a trailer park.

    April 13, 2009 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  4. Charles

    WOW "we understand that a mortar landed on his plane, but that they have left safely and that no one was hurt," said Kerry McKenney,

    No wonder this fool went there, he is superman.. as "a motor landed on his plane".. AND HE FLEW AWAY?????????? Quick, get acft make and model and send them to Iraq-Afg, as that is one tough aircraft.. OR.. the remnark shows just show stuipid DC has become..

    And as for the poor starving pirates.. "NOT ONE CENT FOR TRIBUTE"
    was once a USA ideal.. for those that slept through history class.. blow them out fo the water.. enough is enough...AKA "Not once cent etc".
    Seems wolrd got bluffed out in Dufar etc, so not to surprised the sea going versions of thugs are work now,.

    April 13, 2009 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  5. Robert

    Ok I think someone needs to proof read their stories before they post hem. The last time I checked, if a mortar hits something they tend to blow up. According to the store his plane was hit by a mortar but was still flyable? Anyone else see this.

    April 13, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |

    Why on earth is he over in Somalia? Did this congressman not see the news of (3) pirates being killed in the rescue? I totally agree with the President that something had to be done asap and the Navy Seal did an excellent job. The mission was clean, concise and to the point. Great job in bringing a American home.

    April 13, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  7. walleye

    Who was he talking with in Somalia – the village witch doctor. There is no real Govt there. We need to be vigilant now that these thugs have said they will be coming after Americans and French. We should arm our Merchant fleet and shoot to kill anyone coming on board. If they attack us we should fire a few missiles into their villages and show them we mean business.

    April 13, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  8. Jondie

    Congress should authorize the use of force against Somalia. However, it is should be clear that the invasion and occupation of Somalia, which is NOT feasible, is NOT authorized.

    April 13, 2009 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  9. Bob

    What the crap is our one of our representatives doing in Somalia?
    Just because he is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health doesn't mean he should risk his and other american lives to get up close and personal. He could have been killed or captured. That would have been a real mess for the President to clean up.

    Why did he doing a joint-press conference with the Somalia prime minister? You know that kind of action is going to cause retaliatory actions in this ungoverned country.

    Did he have an official mission from the White House and the State Department or was this an "ad hoc" visit on his own "because of his congressional status".

    Isn't Somalia so screwed up that the Pirates now control the coast and the ports.

    April 13, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  10. Patriot

    Remember when Hillary claimed she dodged sniper fire and that was her foreign policy experience?

    This guy has actually gone through it for real!

    April 13, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  11. Dan, TX

    They are pirates, not terrorists. If they are terrorists, then every bank robber and drug dealer in America is a terrorist.

    April 13, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  12. JA/TN

    what did he expect, after the pirate incident, he wasted funding on trip

    April 13, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  13. Scott AZ

    I guess somebody in Somalia didn't get Obama's message of Hope and Change.

    April 13, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  14. ron

    we should re-commission our OLDEST battleship from a museum or scrapyard, and i mean WW2 vintage. tell them they have 2 months time to clear the coast, as we paint the thing with a big logo, load it up with H.E. rounds, sail it around the horn of africa, and then commence fire. then we can sail it back home and de-commission it again.

    it would make a great reality show. press helicopters could follow it the whole way, and on "fire" day, it would be the biggest, live, worldwide ratings ever!

    April 13, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  15. George from Austin

    All the events leding up to now are so well planned to get the public believe it actually happened and therefore join the drum beat for war. Everything we are hearing is a quote of what some other person said 'who was not authorized to comment on this matter'. The pilot came out of a '5-day odeal' with his beards not having grown an inch,he jumped into the water before the story changed to he was in the boat bound and so on.
    Now it is the pirates have vowed to strike back-no interviews to show-nd soon after,a motaris fired at an american congressman 'but missed'.
    This movie-like-make-believe tales will continue up to when t ends with 'that is why we are striking areas of interest in the Somaliland to prevent further attacks'.
    Wait and see!

    April 13, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  16. Lynda

    One would think that if a motar "landed on the plane" the plane would in effect have had damage done to it.

    April 13, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  17. Mississippi Mike

    He was probably there reaching out to moderate pirates to reach some common ground. While I would never want a US official to be harmed, when they intentionally put themselves in harm's way, they should expect to have their safety compromised. On a side note, we have the technology to intercept and destrow mortars before they hit our vehicles but the programs that develop those technologies are being cut in favor of "stimulus" and "green collar" hoax jobs.

    April 13, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  18. Some guy

    So there are millions of square miles of ocean to patrol, making military intervention unfeaseable? No problem. All you have to do is send an international coalition to mine and patrol their coast. Don't let any boats leave shore. Boat tries to slip through blockade, dispatch a couple of helicopters. Problem solved. Have a nice day!

    April 13, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  19. Scott the Independent

    The lack of education is very evident in the action of Somalia. For them to willingly take on the French and American forces without understanding their own position in the world is obvious. So far without the threat of violence they were a bunch of bullies holding peoples lives in exchange for millions. Considering the fact that most of the hostages were taken from Philippine ships (not the strongest navvy influence) it will be a different story if they start attacking American and French interest. They are about to enter into the big leagues and don't know it.

    April 13, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  20. Shari, NY

    One last statement. Once upon a time the Somali government was headquartered in a neighboring country due to civil strife. Piracy is nothing new, so any Congressperson on official business with the Somalis should meet with local authorities in a safe, mutually accepted site across the border. If they want a first hand look, then they should request videos.

    April 13, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  21. SJ Johnson

    ANYONE who lacks the intelligence to stay out of Somalia at this time
    should be removed from office or face being shot down. Typical polition looking for attention in the news media.

    April 13, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  22. gpm

    we should promise to send all the somalis in this country back home unless they stop hicjacking boats.

    April 13, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  23. Deborah, Bronx

    This place Somalia seems as if it's gonna be the next spot for Al Quaeda!! I think effective IMMEDIATELY, ALL AID should STOP by the US to this country (MONEY esp.)!! It's a darn disgrace that this country has gotten so bad, unfort. the good folks there will have to suffer for the bad. US should NOT take on this country on it's own, we should wait and do it collectively with the UN!! Why I pray did he go there in the first place AT THIS TIME, when we had a situation (and he knew there's no Governing there), make it worst, on Our Tax Paying dollars. Is he for real!!

    April 13, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  24. rich

    Those three pirates who got taken out by the navy seals didnt know what hit them. They bets be careful of messing with the U.S. or else a whole bunch of them will end up dead Iraq style. Keep it up pirates. Your days are numbered. Count them. You want to pick a fight; pick on somebody your size.

    April 13, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  25. Joe the Student

    It's great to know someone cares about Somalia, but there will be no progress in the region until the Unted States rightfully recognizes Somaliland as an independent nation.

    April 13, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
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