BEIRUT

Middle East

Sudan military plane crashes with 20 on board

KHARTOUM: A Sudanese military plane carrying personnel and equipment to the strife-torn Darfur region crashed near the capital Khartoum on Sunday killing 13 people on board, the army said.

The plane's engine stopped working and the pilot was trying to make an emergency landing when he went down about 40km (25 miles) southwest of the Khartoum suburb of Omdurman, state news agency SUNA reported.

The Antonov 12 transport plane was travelling to El Fasher in northern Darfur, military spokesman Al-Sawarmi Khalid told Reuters.

Thirteen people died and nine were injured in the crash, all of them military personnel, he added.

There have been several crashes in Sudan in recent years, where years of U.S. sanctions have made it difficult for airlines to get spare parts for their fleets.

The plane belonged to Azza Air, the state-linked Sudanese Media Centre reported. An Azza cargo plane leased by Sudan Airways crashed in the United Arab Emirates in 2009.

In August, 32 people including a government minister died when a plane taking them to an Islamic festival crashed in a southern border state. State media blamed that accident on bad weather.

A military helicopter crashed in the country's North Kordofan state in December because of a technical failure, killing six crew members, the military said at the time.

Government forces have been battling an insurgency in Darfur since rebels took up arms in 2003, accusing Khartoum of neglecting the remote region.

 
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