KHARTOUM: Up to 31 people including at least one Sudanese minister were killed when a plane taking them to an Islamic festival crashed in the south of the country, an official and state media said on Sunday.
The plane went down into mountains around Talodi, a town in the border state of South Kordofan, while bringing a government delegation there to celebrate the festival marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, state news agency SUNA said.
SUNA said 26 passengers were killed and that the dead included ministers but did not name them.
Abdel Hafiz Abdel Rahim, a civil aviation spokesman, said that 31 people were killed including the crew, but had no details about their identities.
Arabic satellite channel Al Arabiya said the plane was carrying Guidance and Endowments Minister Khalil Abdalla. Al Jazeera reported two ministers were on board, but did not name them.
Citing Sudanese authorities, Al Jazeera reported that security personnel and a media team were also killed in the crash. The report did not say whether the plane involved belonged to the state-owned Sudan Airways or another carrier.
There have been several crashes in recent years involving Sudan Airways, which has been worn down by years of U.S. sanctions and other issues.
A Sudan Airways cargo plane crashed when it was taking off in the United Arab Emirates in 2009 and another cargo plane crashed shortly after take-off from Khartoum in 2008.
Oil-producing South Kordofan borders South Sudan, which seceded over a year ago. The border state has been the site of an insurgency since shortly before South Sudan’s independence.
Sudan’s government accused rebels of killing a state official and seven other people there in July. A spokesman for the main rebel group in the area, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement North, said the insurgents had nothing to do with the plane crash on Sunday.