MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) — A plane carrying senior officials from Guinea to Liberia crashed near Liberia's largest airport on Monday, killing Guinea's army chief of staff and five others, officials said.
Guinea said it has named an interim chief of staff.
"I have the profound regret of informing the people of Guinea of the tragic military plane accident that happened this Monday, Feb. 11, 2013 around 7:30 a.m. in Liberia," Guinea's presidency said in a statement through its ministry of defense. "This accident cut short the lives of six members of the delegation led by Gen. Souleymane Kelefa Diallo; the army chief of staff and five members of this team."
The presidency said a military journalist for the ministry of defense was among those killed in the crash. Guinea called for three days of mourning for the delegation that was flying to Liberia's capital, Monrovia.
Liberia's Information Minister Lewis Brown said that the plane crashed in Charlesville, near Liberia's largest airport, some 45 kilometers (28 miles) south of Monrovia, the capital.
Two pilots were also killed in the crash, according to a Guinean aviation official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not permitted to speak to the press. The official said that this plane was bought for Guinea's air force for $12 million.
Gen. Namory Traore has been appointed the interim army chief of staff, said a statement from the office of President Alpha Conde.
Liberia's President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf confirmed the crash while speaking at an Armed Forces ceremony on Monday. The delegation was flying to Liberia for the celebrations. She called for a moment of silence for those involved in the crash and declared Tuesday a day of mourning.
Diallo reported from Conakry, Guinea.