UN helicopter ‘shot down’

A UN helicopter in South Sudan has crashed according to an anonymous UN source. A strong possibility exists that the aircraft was shot down.

The UN mission to Sudan described via Twitter how an Mi-18 cargo helicopter crashed on Tuesday near Bentiu at around 3.19pm.

Bentiu is close to conflict zones being fought over by government forces and rebel soldiers. A search and rescue operation is currently under way to determine the fate of the crew.

South Sudan has been caught up in intense clashes of violence since December, a month which saw another UN helicopter shot down over the area, and four American servicemen wounded when gunmen open fired on US military aircraft.

The East African regional bloc (IGAD), has said that one of their observers was killed on Monday whilst being held by rebel forces in South Sudan.

Supporters of South Sudan’s former vice president have been engaging government soldiers for over eight months. It is believed that thousands of civilians have lost their lives in the conflict so far, with over 1 million displaced and a hunger crisis is becoming a distinct threat in the near future.

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