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18 killed, including children, after An-12 military plane crashes in Sudan amid tribal violence flare-up (PHOTOS)

18 killed, including children, after An-12 military plane crashes in Sudan amid tribal violence flare-up (PHOTOS)
An Antonov military transport plane went down shortly after take-off in Sudan’s West Darfur province, killing everyone on board, including four children. Photos showing scorched wreckage have emerged online.

The Sudanese army has confirmed that nobody survived the crash, which occurred just five minutes after the ill-fated plane took off from El Geneina airport in West Darfur. The region has seen heavy fighting between tribal militias in the recent days.

"An Antonov 12 military plane crashed Thursday night after takeoff from El Geneina, killing its seven-member crew, three judges and eight civilians, including four children, who were onboard,” army spokesman Amer Mohammed Al-Hassan said, as cited by AFP.

The plane was reportedly on a mission to deliver aid to the crisis-stricken area. Photos of smoke billowing from the badly charred debris of the aircraft quickly emerged online.

The incident comes as West Darfur experiences a spike in violence between Arab and African Masalit tribes, after a camp for the internally displaced persons near el-Geneina was raided before New Year’s Eve. Skirmishes reportedly broke out after Arab tribesman moved into the camp, opening fire on its residents, a spokesman for the joint African Union-United Nations peacekeeping mission in Darfur said Wednesday.

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Several dozen people have been killed in the resulting fighting. Masalit tribal leadership claimed that at least 30 of their own perished in the clashes, while the head of the Arab tribes, Massar Abdel-Rahman Assil, said that the fresh wave of violence had claimed the lives of 11 of his people by Tuesday morning.

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