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Sudan plane crash kills all 31 aboard

Aug. 19, 2012 at 9:25 AM

KHARTOUM, Sudan, Aug. 19 (UPI) -- At least 31 people were killed Sunday when a jet crashed in mountains in southern Sudan, government officials said.

The plane left Khartoum at 6 a.m. carrying a government delegation bound for Taloudy in the province of South Kordofan, where the group was to participate in a Muslim religious event.

A spokesman for Sudan's civil aviation authority told China's Xinhua news agency a government minister responsible for guidance and religious endowments was one of the victims.

"An explosion was heard inside the mountains surrounding the area," the spokesman said. "We cannot tell exactly what happened now."

There was international speculation the commercial Russian-built Antonov plane was downed or sabotaged by militants in the ongoing clash between the government and the Sudan People's Liberation Army.

The government didn't respond to those allegations.

Since 2008, three plane crashes in Sudan have killed at least 19 people, the report said.

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