Thirteen Sudanese military personnel died and nine others were injured when their transport plane crashed on its way
to conflict-plagued Darfur, the army told official media.

"Thirteen were killed instantly, and nine were taken to hospital," Sawarmi Khalid Saad, the Sudanese army spokesman, was quoted as saying by the state SUNA news agency.

The plane was traveling from Khartoum to El Fasher in the country's strife-torn Darfur region, Khalid told Reuters news agency, adding that the Antonov 12 transport plane was also carrying military equipment.

"The pilot informed the airport that he had a problem with one of his engines," before the plane went down west of Jebel Aulia, Khalid said.

Jebel Aulia is a popular recreational area about one hour's drive from the capital.

There have been several crashes in Sudan in recent years, where years of US sanctions have made it harder for airlines to get spare parts for their fleets.

In August, 32 people including a government minister died when a plane taking them to an Islamic festival in a southern border state crashed. State media blamed that accident on bad weather.

A military helicopter crashed in the country's North Kordofan state in December because of a technical failure, killing six crew members, the military said at the time.

Government forces have been battling an insurgency in Darfur since rebels took up arms in 2003, accusing the central government of neglecting the remote region.

Source: Agencies