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Guinea Army Chief Killed in Liberia Plane Crash

Rescuers on site of plane crash carrying Guinea's military chief, General Kelefa Diallo, and other senior military officials, Charlesville, southeast of Monrovia, Liberia, Feb. 11, 2013.
The head of Guinea's armed forces and other senior Guinean military officials have been killed in a plane crash in Liberia.

Officials in Guinea and Liberia say 11 people were on the plane that crashed Monday in Charlesville, about 45 kilometers southeast of the Liberian capital, Monrovia. They say everyone on the plane was killed.

The Human Resources Manager of the Roberts International Airport, Winston Beslow, told reporters the investigation into what caused the crash is ongoing.

"What led to the crash is difficult to say from a technical standpoint because we do not know the specifics of the aeronautics. But it was an accident. I am very certain. Details will emerge as we go along, and we'll pass (them) on to you," Beslow said.

One eyewitness said she saw smoke and fire coming from the plane while it was in the air. The Guinean delegation was headed to Monrovia to attend Liberia's annual Armed Forces Day.

Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf visited the crash site Monday and declared Tuesday a national day of mourning.

Guinea's government has declared three days of mourning, beginning on Monday.

The head of Guinea's armed forces, General Souleymane Diallow, had been a close ally of Guinean President Alpha Conde. President Conde Monday appointed the general's deputy, General Namory Traore, to fill the now-vacant post on an interim basis.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.