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Chadian military plane crashes, five killed

June 12, 2006 (N’DJAMENA) — A Chadian military C-130 aircraft crashed during a dust storm at an airport near the eastern town of Abeche on Sunday, killing five crew and injuring two people on the ground, the regional governor said on Monday.

"It crashed because of poor visibility, there was lots of dust," Mahamat Nimr Mahamat Taha, regional governor of the eastern Ouaddai region, told Reuters from Abeche, not far from Chad’s border with Sudan’s restive Darfur region.

President Idriss Deby, himself a former fighter pilot, faces an armed rebellion in the east of his oil producing country, which he blames on Sudanese President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir.

Chad and Darfur have seen a number of plane crashes in recent months, involving both military planes and humanitarian craft involved in efforts to help 2.5 million people driven from their homes by violence in Darfur.

Africa has an appalling air safety record. While it accounts for just 3 percent of the world’s airline traffic, the continent saw 37 percent of the world’s fatal airliner accidents in 2005, according to the Dutch-based Aviation Safety Network.

(Reuters)