South Sudan: UNMISS Helicopter Crash in Unity State
August 26, 2014(Nyamilepedia) — South Sudan’s warring factions in Unity State have learned the unfortunate crash of UNMISS helicopter at Tong Islands, some 10km Southeast of Rubknoni airport, in Unity State.
Forces of SPLM/SPLA in opposition, in the area, have heard the explosion and assessed the incident, however, denies any connection to the incident as claimed by the government sources.
According to Capt. Mabior Garang de Mabior, the Committee Chairperson for Information and Public Relations, SPLM commanders in the fields denounce any connection to the incident.
“The SPLA Commanders in the field reported to the SPLM General Headquarters that troops heard a loud explosion, and upon investigation found that an aircraft had crashed.” the SPLM report reads.
Government sources have alleged that the plane was shot down by the rebels at the order of Maj. Gen. Peter Gatdet Yaka, however, the SPLM/SPLA refutes such claims in the strongest terms possible.
“The propaganda machine of the Government of South Sudan has reported this unfortunate incident as having been carried out by SPLM/SPLA troops under the total command of Gen. Peter Gadet.” the report reads.
“The SPLM/SPLA would like to take this opportunity to refute these malicious allegations leveled by the propaganda machine of the Government of the Republic of South Sudan (GRSS).” Mabior stated.
Mabior clarifies that the incident happened within a government control zone and therefore if the plane was shot down, then the government troops should be held to account.
“The area in which the plane was reportedly shot down is government held territory, if indeed the aircraft was shot down. It is unfortunate that the GRSS propaganda machine is trying to capitalize on this unfortunate event to score political points.” the reports continued.
The SPLM/SPLA in opposition “empathizes with the families of those that perished as a result of this unfortunate event.”
According to Brig. Gen. Lul Ruai Koang, the SPLM/SPLA armies spokesperson, the opposition calls upon the UNMISS to conduct thorough investigation and denounce any allegations that politicizes the unfortunate circumstance in the country. Lul blames his counterpart, Col. Philip Aguer, for “premature accusations”.
“Col. Philip Aguer’s rushed and premature accusations are unfounded and baseless. SPLA calls upon UNMISS to conduct thorough investigations to establish the circumstances under which the chopper came down and We, pledge full cooperation with the Investigation Team once formed.” Lul stated.
The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has confirmed that three crew members of a UN-contracted MI-8 helicopter have died in, during the incident and the fourth crew, who survived the crash, has received treatment from the Médecins Sans Frontier (MSF)’s team in Bentiu.
The UNMISS team in South Sudan conveys their heartfelt condolences to the families of the deceased.
“I wish to convey my heartfelt condolences to the families of the deceased and wish a full and speedy recovery to the injured crew member,” said Toby Lanzer, the officer-in-charge of UNMISS.