A delegation of high ranking government, military and administrative officials died when their aircraft crashed earlier today with as many as 31 passengers and crew on board. The crash took place in the disputed state of South Kordofan, as it attempted a second time to land in what was reported to be bad weather.
A regular aviation source from Juba could not even confirm the type of aircraft involved as details were both sketchy as well as shrouded in secrecy, as a government minister and senior military officers were reported to have been on board the ill fated flight from Khartoum. He did however say, without full confirmation though, that one of his contacts in Khartoum had identified the aircraft as an Antonov turboprop, which if true would further soil the already terrible reputation of Soviet era ageing aircraft in Africa.
Aviation security was tightened immediately according to reports from the Sudan although there is no indication of any foul play or the plane being brought down from the ground in the war torn territory, where Southern liberation groups are fighting the Khartoum government and their proxy militias since being denied their own independence referendum. The crash site is only 50 kilometres from the border between Khartoum Sudan and South Sudan in a mountainous part of South Kordofan often described as ‘rugged terrain’.
From other sources if was suggested that the aircraft was not a military plane but a civilian charter aircraft from a yet to be identified airline.
The Sudan has one of the worst aviation accident records in Africa, often attributed to poor aircraft maintenance and the lack of regular crew training as required for commercial aviation but also the use of stone age generation Soviet era aircraft, which have long been banned from registration and use in many other jurisdictions.