Juba – The United Nations says three crew members are dead after an Ethiopian military helicopter crashed inside the compound of the U.N. peacekeeping mission for the disputed Abyei region on the Sudan – South Sudan border.
By Deng Machol
The statement says 23 passengers were on board when the helicopter crashed Saturday morning while carrying Ethiopian soldiers.
The MI-8 helicopter was on routine operation carrying Ethiopian troops on rotation from Kadugli to Abyei when it crashed. Ten passengers are injured, three in critical condition at the UNISFA Level II hospital in Abyei, South Sudan.
The U.N. force says the cause of the crash is not immediately known..
UNISFA’s acting Head of Mission and Force Commander Major General Gebre Adhana Woldezgu said, “We are investigating the incident.”
“We are deeply saddened by what happened this afternoon. We are extending our condolences to the families of those who died in the crash,” Major General Woldezgu said.
The helicopter flew from Kadugli for the Mission’s regular troop rotation. UNISFA’s sole troop contributing country Ethiopia is currently rotating its soldiers from Kadugli to different sites in the Abyei area.
Ethiopia is the only troop contributor to the U.N. mission, with some 4,500 personnel on the groundto support UNISFA’s efforts of ensuring peace and security in Abyei.
Both Sudan and South Sudan claim ownership of the oil-rich Abyei area.