- A military source disclosed that the plane had delivered aid to West Darfur, which was rocked by deadly tribal clashes earlier this week.
- Sudan’s Red Crescent said that the death toll from the clashes had risen to 48, and 167 people were wounded.
- Plane crashes are not uncommon in Sudan, which has a poor aviation safety record.
A Sudanese military plane crashed in the Western Darfur region, killing all eighteen people on board, including four children, the military said. A Sudanese employee of the World Food Program (WFP) and his family were among the casualties. Several officers were among those who perished as the plane went down in an area that has recently experienced deadly ethnic clashes.
WFP’s spokesperson for the Mideast and and North Africa, Abeer Etefa, on Friday confirmed that one of its Sudanese employees and his family who was aboard the ill-fated plane with his wife and two children had been killed in the crash. She withheld the staff member’s name and details pending notification of the next of kin.
According to Brig. Gen Amer Mohammed al- Hassan, who posted a statement late Thursday on the Sudanese Armed Forces’ official facebook page, the plane, a Russian Antonov An-12, crashed five minutes after take-off from an airport in the town of Geneina. General al-Hassan said that the casualties included seven member-crew, three judges and eight civilians.
“An Antonov military plane crashed Thursday night after take-off from El-Geneina, killing its seven member-crew, three judges and eight civilians including four children,” General al-Hassan said. He added that investigations to determine the cause of the crash are underway saying that there was no indication of foul play.
A military source disclosed that the plane had delivered aid to West Darfur, which was rocked by deadly tribal clashes earlier this week. It is said armed clashes broke out Sunday night in El-Geneina, and continued until Monday between Arabs and African groups with several houses torched.
Sudan’s Red Crescent said that the death toll from the clashes had risen to 48, and 167 people were wounded. The local relief group has added that around 8,000 families have been displaced in the violence. The town of Geneina has been the site of clashes between the Arabs and non-Arabs which have killed dozens of people.
The Prime Minister, Abdalla Hamdok, visited the town earlier this week and promised to prosecute the perpetrators. The clashes have posed a challenge to efforts by Sudan’s transitional government to end the decade-long rebellions in areas like Darfur. Rebel groups have pulled out of peace talks.
Plane crashes are not uncommon in Sudan, which has a poor aviation safety record. In 2003, a civilian Sudan Airways plane crashed into a hillside while trying to make an emergency landing, killing 116 people, including eight foreigners. Only a small boy survived that crash that involved a Boeing plane. Most of Sudan’s military and civilian fleet consists of old Soviet made aircraft, the country has suffered a number of crashes in the recent years. The military has often blamed technical problems and bad weather in the event of these crashes.