KHARTOUM (Reuters) – Thirty two people including a Sudanese government minister and other officials were killed when a plane taking them to an Islamic festival crashed in the south of the country on Sunday, state media said.
The plane went down in mountains around Talodi, a town in the border state of South Kordofan, while taking a delegation there to celebrate the Eid al-Fitr festival marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, state news agency SUNA said.
The country’s Guidance and Endowments (religious affairs) Minister Ghazi al-Sadeq was killed in the crash, along with Mahjoub Abdel Raheem Toutou, the state’s minister for youth and sports, and Eissa Daifallah, the state’s 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.
Abdel Hafiz Abdel Rahim, a civil aviation spokesman, had earlier told Reuters that 31 people had been killed including the crew, but had no details of their identities.
The report did not say whether the plane involved belonged to state-owned Sudan Airways or another carrier.
There have been several crashes in recent years involving Sudan Airways, whose fleet has been degraded by years of U.S. sanctions and other problems.
A Sudan Airways cargo plane crashed while taking off in the United Arab Emirates in 2009 and another cargo plane crashed shortly after takeoff from Khartoum in 2008.
Oil-producing South Kordofan borders South Sudan, which seceded in July last year. An insurgency broke out in South Kordofan shortly before South Sudan’s independence.
The Sudanese government accused rebels of killing a state official and seven other people there in July, but there was no indication the insurgents were involved in the plane crash.
A spokesman for the main rebel group in the area, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement North, said they had nothing to do with the incident.
(Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz and Alexander Dziadosz; Writing by Edmund Blair and Alexander Dziadosz; Editing by Andrew Osborn)