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Benin prime minister survives helicopter crash

Benin Prime Minister Lionel Zinsou has survived a helicopter crash after the craft he was traveling in crash-landed. Officials say the leader of the West African country was unhurt in the incident.

Benin's Interior Ministry said the helicopter crashed Saturday while attempting to land at a stadium in Djougou in the northwest of the country. No one was hurt in the incident, spokesperson Leonce Houngbadji added.

"The prime minister was on board at the time of the crash-landing ... happily he emerged safe and sound," an unnamed source in the Beninese presidency told news agency AFP.

The prime minister's daughter, Marie-Cecile Zinsou, also confirmed her father is alive.

"My father is well. There are no victims of the helicopter crash in Djougou. Thank you for your messages," she wrote in French on Twitter.

An investigation has been opened into the circumstances surrounding the accident, police said.

Zinsou, a former banker who holds duel French and Beninese nationality, has announced his intention to run as the ruling party's candidate in the country's presidential election scheduled for February.

jlw/bk (AFP, AP)

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