At least 18 people were killed on Thursday after a military transport plane crashed in Sudan when it took off from West Darfur state, according to an army spokesman.

Amer Mohamed al-Hassan, spokesman of Sudanese army said in a statement, “The Antonov 12 plane “crashed five minutes after taking off from El Geneina airport”.

He further said that an investigation is still underway to determine the cause of the crash.

Earlier, the plane transported medical materials for the Sudanese Red Crescent Society in El Geneina, the capital city of West Darfur state.

Earlier this week, according to the military source that the plane had delivered aid to West Darfur which was rocked by deadly tribal clashes.

At least 48 people have been killed and 241 wounded in that violence, according to Sudan’s Red Crescent.

It said the armed clashes broke out on Sunday night in El Geneina, and continued until Monday between Arab and African groups, with several houses torched.

According to the report, in 2018 saw a sharp rise in fatalities from air crashes compared with 2017, but 2018 was still the ninth safest year on record.

The worst crashes in December 2018 involved a helicopter and a fixed-wing aircraft. While a helicopter belonging to Sudanese government crashed in Al-Qadarif state on 9 December, Gomair’s Antonov An-26B crashed in Kinshasa on 20 December. Both crashes killed 7 people.

(With inputs from agency)