Southern Sudan’s minister of defense was killed yesterday in a plane crash, southern government officials said.
Dominic Dim, the south’s defense minister and minister of SPLA affairs, as well as Justin Yak, a presidential adviser for local government affairs, were on the plane that crashed near the southern town of Rumbek, the officials said.
Deng Goc, a spokesman for the Southern People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), confirmed that Dim had been on the plane but could not confirm if he had died.
The former southern rebel SPLM signed a 2005 accord with the northern National Congress Party (NCP), ending Africa’s longest civil war. The SPLA is the armed wing of the SPLM.
The UN said the plane was a Beechcraft 1900 operated by South Sudan Air Connection travelling from Wau to Juba with 21 passengers on board.
Dim, who was a major general in the army, was appointed to his post last July in a Cabinet reshuffle.
The south’s vice president Riek Machar gave no reason for the crash, but ruled out an attack.
“The plane had been rented from an charter company and was carrying a delegation of leaders from the [former rebel] Sudan People’s Liberation Movement from Wau to the capital Juba,” 450km to the southeast, he said.
National First Vice President Salva Kiir was also on board, Machar said.