News / Africa

    UN Grounds Flights to South Sudan Town After Helicopter Crash

    Acting UNMISS head Toby Lanzer tells reporters in Juba on Aug. 28, 2014 that all flights to Bentiu have been grounded following a helicopter crash that killed three Russian crew members.
    Acting UNMISS head Toby Lanzer tells reporters in Juba on Aug. 28, 2014 that all flights to Bentiu have been grounded following a helicopter crash that killed three Russian crew members.

    The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has halted flights to Bentiu after a helicopter on a U.N. cargo mission crashed near the town, killing most of the Russian crew, said acting UNMISS head Toby Lanzer on Thursday.

    "There is only one way into Bentiu and out of Bentiu at the moment, and that is on a helicopter or a very small aircraft. So the United Nations Mission in South Sudan and the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service... have grounded all flights to Bentiu," Lanzer told reporters at a news conference.

    Bentiu hosts one of the largest U.N. operations in South Sudan. Around half of the thousands of people who have sought U.N. protection from the violence in the young country are in the Unity state capital.

    Lanzer said UNMISS hopes to resume flights to Bentiu soon to serve those people.

    "The scale of need in Bentiu is so high, the size of our operations there so large that we need to start flying to Bentiu as soon as possible," he said.

    We are treating this as a hostile act against the United Nations.

    "But I have to make sure that our crews are safe, I have to make sure that our equipment is safe. At the end of the day, the safety of our personnel comes first," Lanzer said.

    A spokesman for the South Sudan army told South Sudan in Focus that the helicopter was shot down by rebels loyal to opposition leader Riek Machar. Lanzer said the United Nations has not yet reached a conclusion as to what caused the crash. 

    But, he added, "For investigative purposes we are treating this as a hostile act against the United Nations."

    Helicopters 'don't fall out of the sky'

    "Helicopters fly, they don’t fall out of the sky. We now have the black box, we now have the voice recorder, we now have the control panel.  The investigations started yesterday, analysis is taking place, and things are moving very fast,” Lanzer said.

    U.N. investigators are talking to representatives of government and opposition forces about the crash. Both sides are engaged in fighting in the area where the helicopter crashed.

    Lanzer said a memorial service will be held in Juba for the Russian crew members who died, and their bodies will be repatriated to Russia. The sole survivor of the crash was undergoing medical treatment in Juba, Lanzer said.

    UN Security Council: Helicopter brought down

    The U.N. Security Council separately condemned what it called the downing of the helicopter.

    Security Council President Mark Lyall Grant said the helicopter was attacked. The incident put UNMISS operations in South Sudan in jeopardy, he said.

    Lyall Grant called for swift and thorough investigations by UNMISS and the government of South Sudan, and said those found to be responsible for bringing down the aircraft "must be held accountable." 

    The Security Council also called on UNMISS to step up security measures and take steps to "avoid such attacks in the future."

    You May Like

    Video Obama Remembers Fallen Troops for Memorial Day

    President urges Americans this holiday weekend to 'take a moment and offer a silent word of prayer or public word of thanks' to country's veterans

    Upsurge of Migratory Traffic Across Sahara From West to North Africa

    A report by the International Organization for Migration finds more than 60,000 migrants have transited through the Agadez region of Niger between February and April

    UN Blocks Access to Journalist Advocacy Group

    United Nations has rejected bid from nonprofit journalist advocacy group that wanted 'consultative status,' ranking that would have given them greater access to UN meetings

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora