Sudan plane crashes, killing all passengers
A Sudanese airplane has crashed while landing in Talodi town, on its way to South Kordofan state for Muslim Eid holiday celebrations, killing all passengers on board, including a cabinet minister.
Spokesman for the Sudan Aviation Authority, Abdelhafiz Abdelrahim, confirmed the accident, saying the plane plane was making to land on Sunday at about 8:00 am (0500 GMT) when "an explosion was heard and the plane was destroyed."
Abdelrahim said: "among the victims was Khartoum's Minister of Guidance and Endowments, Ghazi Al-Saddiq. All people on board were killed," he affirmed.
Also confirming the incident on the official Radio Omdurman, Culture and Information Minister, Ahmed Bilal Osman, said the plane "crashed into a hill" because of bad weather, killing the entire delegation.
Heavy rains have been reported in South Kordofan recently.
There have been no reports of major fighting around Talodi in recent weeks but the town has been a key battleground in the conflict between the government and ethnic rebels of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), since June last year.
The town, about 50 kilometres (30 miles) from the disputed border with South Sudan, sits on a partly-forested plain beneath craggy hills.
The rebels in South Kordofan fought alongside former insurgents now ruling in South Sudan, which became independent in July last year.
Sudan accuses South Sudan of supporting the SPLM-N, a charge Juba denies.
Sudanese officials say resolution of the security issue is key to the implementation of an oil deal reached early this month with the Juba government during African Union-led talks.
SPLM-N has been waging a similar conflict since September in Sudan's Blue Nile state.
For months, the UN has been expressing concern about a worsening humanitarian situation in the conflict zone.
Progress so far
Khartoum cites security concerns for tightly restricting the operations of foreign aid agencies. But in early August, Sudan signed a memorandum of understanding with the United Nations, the African Union and the Arab League, to allow for humanitarian access throughout South Kordofan and Blue Nile- including in rebel-held areas.
A similar memorandum has been reached between the three agencies and the SPLM-N, but officials say logistical details of the aid operation are still being finalised and there is not yet a start date.
The UN says more than 650,000 people have been displaced or severely affected by the fighting in South Kordofan and Blue Nile.