UN Helicopter Shot Down in South Sudan
The United Nations has warned that a cargo carrying Russian made Mi-8 helicopter has apparently crashed in South Sudan alongside as yet unconfirmed reports that it was apparently shot down. Three of the crew are reported to have been killed and one may have survived according to initial news from the scene.
South Sudan has been in a state of virtual civil war since Vice President Riek Machar broke away from the government of President Sala Kiir and led an ethnic based rebellion against the government of which he had formerly been an integral part and a major role player. Bitter fighting has led to the killing of thousands of people and the displacement of just under two million civilians with corresponding disastrous consequences for the production of food.
The UN has warned the international community that South Sudan now faces the first massive famine of epic proportions in this century coupled with appalling refugee conditions as rains flood the camps and food supplies run out. The Sudanese government accused the forces under the leadership of the rebel commander, Peter Gadet, of being responsible for the shooting down of the UN aircraft.
Although a ceasefire agreement is allegedly in effect, vicious fighting continues to plague the country. On Monday both rebels and the government were granted 48 hours in which to come up with a government of national unity involving a power sharing arrangement. In the capital of the oil rich Unity state, Bentiu, thousands of refugees have sought sanctuary in UN bases there, notwithstanding the fact that the city has already changed hands several times.
Source:: African Armed Forces (Air)