Sudan plane crashes, minister dead-SPLM sources

JUBA, Sudan, May 2 (Reuters)

Southern Sudan's minister of defence and another government official were killed on Friday in a plane crash, southern government officials said.

Dominic Dim, the south's defence minister and minister of SPLA affairs, and 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 Dim had died.

Yak's wife was also killed in the crash, a government source said.

The former southern rebel SPLM signed a 2005 accord with the northern National Congress Party (NCP), ending Africa's longest civil war.

The accident comes a day after southern army officials said Sudan's northern and southern forces had agreed to withdraw from an oil-rich border flashpoint where clashes in the last month have killed dozens.

The clashes in Unity state, near one of Sudan's largest oil fields, could disrupt a 2005 north-south peace deal that ended Africa's longest civil war, shared wealth and power, and created separate northern and southern armies.

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. The United Nations said it had sent a helicopter to the crash site.

(Reporting by Skye Wheeler and Opheera McDoom, writing by Will Rasmussen; editing by Giles Elgood)

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