Why were military planes from Italy and the United States in Harare?

Why were military planes from Italy and the United States in Harare?

The sighting of two foreign military aircraft over Harare on Saturday and Sunday sent social media into a frenzy – spawning light-hearted banter.

A United States Air Force C-17A Globemaster III landed at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport just before 11AM on Saturday.

Then, on Sunday, an Italian Air Force Boeing 767 touched down at the same airport at 6.15PM.

“It’s bringing (Mario) Balloteli to coach the national team,” joked one Twitter user, referring to the Italian aircraft.

“Maybe it was delivering more sanctions from the West,” weighed in another as befuddled Zimbabweans found humour in the curious landings.

The Italian embassy had not responded to our request for a comment, but ZimLive has confirmed that the Italian Air Force was evacuating a top diplomat taken ill with an undisclosed illness.

“The Boeing 767 is a hospital in the air – fully equipped for any medical emergency. The mission was to airlift a high-level Italian embassy official,” a source said.

Surprise visitor … This Boeing 767 from the Italian Air Force made a medical evacuation flight to Zimbabwe on Sunday

The 767-2EY(ER), registration MM62229, was on the ground in Harare for about two hours and 30 minutes, before flying back to Italy at about 8.50PM.

Meanwhile, ZimLive has established that the U.S. Air Force C-17, registration 08-8204, was delivering supplies for the embassy in Harare.

The aircraft which commonly performs tactical and strategic airlift missions, transporting troops and cargo throughout the world, flew out of Zweibrucken, Germany, on June 30.

The C-17 made drops in Harare and South Africa – where it landed at Lanseria Airport – on July 3 before delivering some cargo for the United States embassy in Mozambique. It left Mozambique on Monday, returning to Germany. – ZimLive