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Sudan’s civil aviation chief resigns over plane crash

August 21, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – The head of the Sudanese Civil Aviation Corporation (SCAC), Mohammed Abdel Aziz, tendered his resignation to the country’s president Omer Al-Bashir on Tuesday, citing the need to account for a plane crash that killed 32 officials this week.

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Photo of the burned fuselage of the Antonov flight that crashed in Sudan on Sunday (Al-Shorog website)

It is not yet confirmed whether Al-Bashir has accepted the resignation which follows the death on 19 August of 32 people including one federal minister, three state ministers and a cohort of military and security officials in a plane crash in the country’s conflict-hit region of South Kordofan.

The plane, an Antonov AN-26 charter flight, exploded when it a hill around the town of Talodi, killing all people on board. According to the country’s Media Minister Ahmad Bilal, the crash was due to “bad weather conditions. The authorities also said the officials were on their way to perform Eid prayer in Talodi, which is the third largest town in South Kordofan and was recently the subject of several occupation attempts by the region’s rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N).

SCAC chief said that the Talodi crash had prompted him to resign, adding that the resignation was referred to the president. Abdel Azizi, who extended his condolences to the families of the crash victims, said that the incident was a national disaster and requires the official in charge to step aside. He further expressed his readiness to face the results of any investigation into the tragedy.

Meanwhile, the authorities revealed that the crew of the ill-fated plane was comprised of four Russian pilots, a Sudanese pilot called Abdel Moniem and two female Sudanese stewards. The Russian embassy confirmed on Monday that a Russian pilot was among the victims. “He was the captain,” Yury Vidakas, the embassy’s press officer, told AFP

Sudan complains that its aviation sector is eroding under more than ten years of US economic sanctions which prevent the country from buying spare parts. Recently the European Union decided to ban Sudanese aircrafts from entering its airspace citing lack of safety standards.

(ST)