The New Times (Kigali)

Sudan Minister Killed in Plane Crash

A Sudanese civil plane carrying a ministerial delegation crashed early Sunday in Sudan's South Kordofan State, killing all 31 passengers, including a minister, an aviation official told Xinhua.

"The plane, Antinov, belonging to a civil aviation company, left Khartoum at 6:00 a.m. local time (0300 GMT) carrying a ministerial delegation of 31 people," said Abdul-Hafez Abdul- Rahim, spokesperson of Sudan's Civil Aviation.

Among the killed was Minister of Guidance and Religious Endowments Ghazi al-Sadiq, the spokesman said.

"The plane flew over Taloudy airport in South Kordofan. An explosion was heard inside the mountains surrounding the area," he said, stressing "The plane crashed, killing all the people on board."

South Kordofan State has been recently witnessing armed clashes between the Sudanese army and rebels of the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA)/northern sector.

Abdul-Rahim did not exclude the assumption that the plane was exposed to a hostile act, but said "there are ongoing investigations to know the facts about the incident."

"We cannot tell exactly what happened now," he said. Sudan has seen several plane crashes in recent years. On June 20, 2012, a Sudanese military training aircraft crashed at the air base in Port-Sudan city in eastern the country, leaving its two-member crew killed.

On December 30, 2011, six crew members were killed when a military helicopter crashed in the western region of Darfur.

In 2008, at least 11 were killed in two cargo plane crashes in Sudan.

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