The helicopter went down on Sunday in the country’s southern mountains, near Talodi, a town within the Sudanese border state of South Kordofan. A delegation had been aboard the aircraft enroute to the Eid al-Fitr festival celebrating the end of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month. Among those killed in the crash were Sudan’s Guidance and Endowments (religious affairs) Minister Ghazi al-Sadeq, Youth and Sports Minister Mahjoub Abdel Raheem Toutou, and Eissa Daifallah, the minister for tourism, antiquities and wildlife.
Also travelling with the delegation were a number of people involved with the country’s military, state security and media, according to SUNA, Sudan’s state news agency. Harsh weather conditions were cited as the cause of the crash. There has been no official word as to whether or not the aircraft belonged to the state controlled Sudan Airways, or a private airline. Sudan Airways experienced a pair of cargo plane crashes, one which crashed during take off from the United Arab Emirates in 2009, and another which crashed shortly after take off in Khartoum in 2008.
The Sudanese government has been in the midst of a battle with insurgents within the country’s southern region, where the helicopter went down. South Kordofan borders South Sudan, which seceded from the state in July 2011. Shortly before South Sudan claimed independence, rebels attacked South Kordofan. At the time of the insurgency, the government charged the rebels with the death of a state official and seven others.
There appears to be no connection between the rebels and the plane crash, and a spokesman for the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, the largest rebel group in the region, said that the group was not involved.