World Bulletin/News Desk
The United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) confirmed on Monday that a Russian-made GCC MI-8 helicopter carrying three UNAMID staffers has been seized by the Sudanese Liberation Movement-Minnawi faction (SLM-M) after making an emergency landing southwest of Nyala.
"Communication has been maintained with all parties; the UNAMID, the contractor company, the crew members and the SLM-M," UNAMID Chris Cycmanick said in exclusive statements to the Anadolu Agency.
"Negotiations are still ongoing."
The helicopter was returning back from delivering humanitarian assistance to Buram in southern Darfur when it made an emergency landing some 15 kilometers southwest of Nyala, the capital of South Darfur state in the western part of the Sudan.
The UNAMID crew on board comprised of two Ukrainians and one Sudanese.
The information was verified by Al-Dindir Aviation, which chartered the Russian helicopter to deliver UNAMID supplies in locations across greater Darfur.
Ammar Aldao Ahmed, Al-Dindir Aviation’s chief executive officer, said his company chartered the helicopter, which is registered with Sudanese authorities.
"The crew delivered the assistance and was heading back when it experienced technical difficulties forcing it to land before being impounded by the SLM-M," he told the AA.
Ahmed said the company informed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the National Intelligence and Security Services and the Russian company of the incident.
He added that the helicopter is now under control of the SLM-M not the Sudanese Military Forces, adding that the Russian company in turn informed the UNAMID.
“We are now awaiting the response."
SLM-M had earlier claimed that it impounded the GCC MI-8 helicopter.