UNSC unanimously condemns Russian helicopter's downing in South Sudan

The UN Security Council has strongly condemned the downing of a United Nations helicopter in South Sudan which resulted in the death of three Russian crew members.

The UN Security Council has strongly condemned the downing of a United Nations helicopter in South Sudan which resulted in the death of three Russian crew members.

UN Security Council member countries unanimously passed a statement which urged the South Sudan authorities "to conduct a swift, thorough and transparent investigation of this attack."

"This attack constituted a grave violation of the Status of Forces Agreement of 8 August 2011 and jeopardized the (United Nations Mission in South Sudan) UNMISS operations," statement said.

The Council strongly emphasized that those responsible for the attack must be held accountable.

As reported earlier, the UN-contracted Mi-8 helicopter of Russia's UTair airline, crashed on August 26 in the vicinity of Bentiu, South Sudan. The helicopter had a crew of four Russians.

The helicopter hired by the UNMISS was carrying 2.5 tonnes of food from Wau to Rubkona.

Contact with the UN mission was lost at 2:28 p.m. local time, after the crew had reported the expected landing at 2:45 p.m. Several minutes after the due arrival, the crew of another UN helicopter told air traffic controllers about the smoke billowing above the latest location of the missed helicopter. UNMISS peacekeepers were sent to the crash site.

The UN Secretariat and the UNMISS said three crewmembers died and the fourth was taken to a local hospital. His condition is relatively stable.

The aviation authorities of South Sudan and Russia have a jurisdiction over this case. The UN said it was prepared to render any support to the inquiry at the request of relevant bodies. The UN Security will also conduct its own investigation.

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