Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila's chief adviser has been killed in a plane crash, along with a co-pilot, near the eastern town of Bukavu, an interior ministry official said.
   
The official, Richard Ilunga, confirmed the death of Augustin Katumba Mwanke and said the accident occurred on Sunday.

Ilunga said said finance minister Matata Ponyo Mapon and Marcellin Cishambo Rohuya, governor of the South Kivu province, who were travelling with the aide, survived the crash.

"We've extracted two bodies from the plane, that of the honourable Augustin Katumba Mwanke who has just been moved to the morgue, and that of a co-pilot," said Laban Kyalangalilwa, a provincial transport minister.

He said there were two pilots and 10 passengers on the private jet.

South Kivu Governor Marcellin Cishambo has been admitted to the hospital for emergency treatment, and most of the other passengers were taken from the plane alive, Kyalangalilwa said.

"We do not know the cause of the crash and we await the investigations, but apparently there was not bad weather here in Bukavu," he said.

Small and often ageing aircraft are used to traverse the DRC, a vast country with dense forests but without roads. Accidents are common as some airports lack even the basic facilities to function normally.

Last July, dozens of passengers were killed when a plane crashed as it approached Kisangani airport. Rescuers managed to pull 40 survivors from the wreckage, officials said.

The aircraft belonged to the Hewa Bora Airways which is on a European Union list of airlines banned due to security concerns, as are all carriers certified in the DR Congo.

Source: Agencies