S.Sudan Authorities Unable to Reach UN Chopper's Crash Site
KHARTOUM, December 24 (RIA Novosti) - Representatives of South Sudanese authorities have not yet reached the crash site of a UN helicopter that was shot down last Friday, a local official said on Monday.
A Mil Mi-8 helicopter was downed shortly after it took off from the settlement of Pibor in South Sudan's eastern state of Jonglei. Five people, including four Russian crewmembers, on board of the aircraft were killed.
"The authorities have not yet reached the scene of the incident, as the helicopter fell near the battlefront, where the army fights the rebels," Joshua Kony, the head of Pibor settlement, told SudanTribune.com.
The incident with the helicopter was condemned by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the US authorities, while Russia urged South Sudanese authorities to conduct a full-scale investigation and punish those guilty.
Philip Aguer, a spokesman for South Sudan's armed forces (SPLA), said on Saturday that soldiers mistook the helicopter for an aircraft carrying arms to rebel forces and shot it down.
South Sudan's army has been fighting rebel forces in Jonglei, including in the region where the helicopter was downed, since early December.
The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) was established in July 2011 when South Sudan gained its independence, becoming the newest country in the world, because the UN Security Council concluded that the situation there could pose risks to international security.
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