Sudan officials killed in plane crash

State television reports deaths of a cabinet member and 31 other officials travelling to war-torn south.

    A cabinet minister was among 32 government officials killed in a plane crash in Sudan, according to state media.

    The group was an official delegation to Southern Kordofan, a war-torn state where the Sudanese army is fighting rebel groups. They were travelling to attend a function marking the Muslim Eid holiday, state news agency SUNA said.

    The plane went down in mountains around Talodi, a town in South Kordofan, on Sunday.

    SUNA's report blamed the crash on "bad weather conditions" but did not give further details.

    "Before landing, communication with the pilot was normal and the runway clear. Then an explosion was heard and the plane was destroyed," Abdelhafiz Abdelrahim, spokesman for the Sudan Aviation Authority, told the AFP news agency.

    The country's Guidance and Endowments (religious affairs) Minister Ghazi al-Sadeq was killed in the crash, along with Mahjoub Abdel Raheem Toutou, state minister for youth and sports, and Eissa Daifallah, state minister for tourism, antiquities and wildlife, it said.

    Several people associated with the country's military, state security and state media also died in the crash, the agency added.

    Accidents common

    Accidents are common among Sudan's ageing fleet of aircraft, and Europe bans all Sudanese airlines for safety reasons.

    A Sudan Airways cargo plane crashed when it was taking off in the United Arab Emirates in 2009. At least 30 people died when a Sudan Airways jet burst into flames on landing in Khartoum in 2008.

    Oil-producing Southern Kordofan borders South Sudan, which seceded over a year ago. The border state has been the site of an insurgency since shortly before South Sudan's independence.

    Khartoum accused rebels of killing a state official and seven other people there in July. A spokesman for the man rebel group in the army, the Sudan People's Liberation Movement North, said the insurgents had nothing to do with Sunday's plane crash.


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