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Last Updated: Monday, 10 April 2006, 17:18 GMT 18:18 UK
Air crash kills Kenya politicians
KTN screen grab of the crash site
The crash site is in the hills, which is hampering rescue efforts
A Kenyan aircraft carrying prominent politicians has crashed in the north of the country killing at least 14 people.

Two assistant ministers and the deputy leader of the main opposition were among those killed when the plane crashed into a hill in heavy rain.

Four passengers were rescued from the crash site, near the town of Marsabit, and have been taken to hospital in the capital, Nairobi, where one later died.

Witnesses report seeing burnt bodies scattered among the wreckage.

Rescuers hampered

Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki has expressed "shock and disbelief" at the disaster and declared three days of national mourning.

People have been burned beyond recognition
Caleb Kilande
Red Cross official
Two assistant ministers from his administration, Mirugi Kariuki and Titus Ngoyoni, are among the dead.

Bonaya Godana, the deputy leader of Kenya's main opposition party, Kanu, and two other members of parliament also died.

They were among a delegation that were travelling to a regional peace conference when their military plane crashed into a hill as it approached the town of Marsabit, 450 km (280 miles) north-east of Nairobi.

"People have been burned beyond recognition," said Caleb Kilande, a Red Cross official at the scene of the crash.

"I can see their bodies are still lying [there] because for now we don't have gloves and body bags," she said.

A Marsabit official, Mutua Iringu, told Kenya Television Network there was "no way" anyone but the four rescued passengers could have survived a blaze that broke out in the wrecked aircraft.

The BBC's Josphat Makori in Nairobi says the rescue effort has been hampered because the roads up to the crash site is in the hills are very slippery.

Poor visibility due to heavy rain is being blamed for the crash.

'Worst tragedy'

The politicians were travelling to the region to mediate in a bloody feud between rival communities near the border with Ethiopia.

MP Mirugi Kariuki, assistant minister internal security
MP Titus Ngoyoni, assistant minister regional development
MP Bonaya Godana, deputy leader official opposition
MP Abdi Sasura
MP Guracha Galgallo
Abdullahi Adan , MP in the East African parliament
Peter King'ola, Moyale district commissioner
Source: Kenya State House

"It is unfortunate that this tragedy has occurred when the peace delegation was on its way for a crucial meeting of bringing peace and harmony among the communities living in the region," President Kibaki said in a national address.

The speaker of the Kenyan parliament, Francis Ole Kaparo, described the accident as the worst tragedy to hit the national assembly.

He paid tribute to his colleagues and said that parliament would be suspended until the funerals had taken place.

Our correspondent says this is not the first plane crash involving government officials.

Three years ago, a plane carrying four ministers and several MPs crashed, killing one minister.

A commission of inquiry into that incident recommended that government officials should not travel together in one plane, he says.

The three survivors - the Eastern Province's provincial commisioner and two Kenyan Airforce crew members - are reported to be stable in hospital.

Country profile: Kenya
02 Mar 06 |  Country profiles


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