UN plane crashes in DRC injuring five

KANANGA (AFP) - Five people were injured when a small plane operated by the UN's humanitarian air service overturned on the runway in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Wednesday (May 30), the organisation said.

The accident happened during take off on a remote runway in Kamonia, in central Kasai region, according to statement from the UN World Food Programme (WFP), which runs the UN air service, UNHAS.

"The two crew members and three passengers sustained minor injuries and were taken to a local medical facility," it added. The cause of the accident is being investigated.

The WFP said the group was made up of two Ugandan crew and a French, Chadian and Congolese national, all of whom were not WFP employees.

The small Cessna Caravan plane, chartered by the UN Humanitarian Air Service, "got stuck in the sand and overturned," said local Congolese official Jean Paul Kuzuka, adding that the poor condition of the runway was the main cause of the accident.

He reported that among the wounded were two Britons.

Conflict erupted in the central region of Kasai, after a tribal chieftain known as the Kamwina Nsapu, who rebelled against President Joseph Kabila's regime, was killed in September 2016.

Three UN agencies - the WFP, children's agency Unicef, and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) - estimated in January that 3.2 million people in Kasai were facing severe food shortages.

Some 770,000 children are malnourished in the region, more than half of whom are facing the threat of death, according to UNICEF earlier this month.

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