Home | News    Thursday 29 July 2010

Russia says its helicopter pilot in Darfur held by pro-government Janjaweed militia


July 28, 2010 (KHARTOUM) — A senior official in Moscow today revealed that a crew member of a Russian helicopter operating under a UN contract in Darfur region who has gone missing on Monday was being held by the notorious Janjaweed militias.

JPEG - 26.7 kb
Russian special envoy to Sudan Mikhail Margelov (AFP)

The head of the joint African Union - United Nations mission in Darfur (UNAMID) Ibrahim Gambari told the UN Security Council (UNSC) yesterday that the helicopter was transporting members of the Security Arrangements Committee of the Liberation and Justice Movement to locations in South Darfur.

Earlier reports by the Russian foreign ministry suggested that the helicopter belonging to the Russian airline UTair, which had four Russian crew members on board, was seized by Darfur rebels. However, this report was later denied by both the Sudanese authorities and UNAMID.

“Yesterday we were receiving rather contradictory information as to who had seized our pilots and why. It has become clear today that our helicopter pilots are in the hands of regular armed formations that theoretically must obey Khartoum the so-called Janjaweed,” the Russian special envoy to Sudan Mikhail Margelov told Russia 24 television according to the Russian news agency Itar-Tass.

Margelov said that the militia "has for a long time received no money from the central government,” tried “to express discontent with the attitude of the official Khartoum to them”.

A U.N. spokesman said today that the missing Russian pilot and the three rebel commanders who were on-board the helicopter were beaten "at the scene".

"Subsequently the crew and passengers, with the exception of the pilot, were taken to a government military camp" U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky said. he expressed concern about fate of the Russian pilot.

However, Margelov expressed optimism that the pilot will soon be released.

“The commander of the crew is being held. Very active consultations with the Janjaweed continue. Influential representatives of different Darfur tribes and groups of influence have joined the talks. I have a feeling that the crisis may be settled in the foreseeable future,” he said.

The Russian official defended the Sudanese government saying they have nothing to do with the militia that carried out the kidnapping saying that at some point the Janjaweed supposed to obey Khartoum stopped doing that.

“And instead began putting sand in the wheels, standing in the way of Khartoum which is very interested in negotiations with different armed groups and in achieving political settlement in Darfur,” Margelov said.

He also noted that incidents involving Russian helicopter crews are rare in the region.

“Russia is the only country which has had no hostages in Sudan till the latest incident,” Margelov stressed. “I am absolutely confident that no discontent with Russian politics or Russia’s stance on the Darfur settlement is expressed by that incident,” the Russian parliamentarian said.

He also said that the conflict in Darfur “is at the stage of an active settlement”. “Mediatory efforts of the United Nations and the African Union, Qatar, the work of special representatives for Sudan of all five countries that are permanent members of the U.N. Security Council bears fruit and the situation there is much better than in the autumn of 2006, when I first visited Darfur,” Margelov added.

Rebels in Sudan’s western region of Darfur rose up against the government in February 2003, saying Khartoum discriminated against non-Arab farmers there.

Khartoum mobilized proxy Arab militia to help quell the revolt. Some militiamen, known locally as Janjaweed, pillaged and burned villages, and killed civilians.

The Sudanese government initially denied any links to the Janjaweed.

however In 2005, Sudan’s former spy chief Salah Gosh admitted that his government armed the Janjaweed militias adding that they would not make the same mistake in the country’s east where the local populating began to take arms against the central government.


Comments on the Sudan Tribune website must abide by the following rules. Contravention of these rules will lead to the user losing their Sudan Tribune account with immediate effect.

- No inciting violence
- No inappropriate or offensive language
- No racism, tribalism or sectarianism
- No inappropriate or derogatory remarks
- No deviation from the topic of the article
- No advertising, spamming or links
- No incomprehensible comments

Due to the unprecedented amount of racist and offensive language on the site, Sudan Tribune tries to vet all comments on the site.

There is now also a limit of 400 words per comment. If you want to express yourself in more detail than this allows, please e-mail your comment as an article to comment@sudantribune.com

Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.
  • 29 July 2010 07:04, by Aarai Baka

    Russian must have to meet the rebels demand or their pilots will be held hostage until they die. Russian have playing and running their dirty games toward African since rebellion started in this country, russian must pay high price or their pilots will face death penalty in the regions.

    repondre message

    • 29 July 2010 07:43, by Aduol Liet

      Mikhail Margelov.

      I think you will understand very well now that, the so call Janjaweed militia are the pro-government of Omar al Bashir. Whenever, you guys trying to make a friendship with a trouble people like Omar al Bashir, this is a good lesson you guys should know that, these people including indictment Omar al Bashir they don’t like the Western nation at all. If Russian were working for security arrangement with another Darfur rebels then, there is need for other Darfur rebel to have them hostage your pilot and I think you are absolutely right Janjaweed militia are they one responsible for your peacekeeper force pilot has disappeared in just close location this is not rebel.

      repondre message

  • 29 July 2010 09:10, by DASODIKO

    The Russians do not know that the same Islamist killing people in Darfur and South Sudan are the same who support the Islamist of Russian states to blast metros in Mosco. Now Russians will pay the salaries of the Janjaweeds to release the pilot.

    repondre message

Comment on this article

The following ads are provided by Google. SudanTribune has no authority on it.

Sudan Tribune

Promote your Page too

Latest Comments & Analysis

The political calculations of Sudan’s military regime 2019-04-22 20:37:26 How Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir was overthrown and what happens next in Sudan By Ahmed H Adam* On April 11, after 30 years in power, the longstanding dictator, General Omar al-Bashir, was (...)

Will the military or the people lead Sudan? 2019-04-22 16:25:04 Support by regional and international partners will be critical to address the economic crisis, as well as the reformation of government institutions, ministries and security agencies By Ahmed (...)

Will uprising in Sudan provide a new political dispensation? 2019-04-20 06:25:31 By Luka Kuol* The recent wave of uprising in some African countries shows the new means of contesting the African rulers who stayed in power for so long and are hardly to be unseated through the (...)


Latest Press Releases

South Sudan’s Lafon youth condemn killings of civilians by Pari community 2019-04-03 21:54:29 Press Statement on the Fighting between Pari/ Pacidi and Lotuko/Lokiri on 24/3/2019 Release by The Lafon County Youth Union: We, the Lafon County Youth Union hereby condemn the atrocities and (...)

Joseph Malwal Dong joined the SPLM/A -IO 2019-04-02 08:35:02 SPLM/A (IO) Press Release 1/4/2019 On Hon. Joseph Malwal Dong Joined the SPLM/A (IO) The leadership of the SPLM/A (IO) would like to seize this precious opportunity to announce to members and (...)

Sudan Protests: Investigate the custodial death of three University students 2019-03-13 12:53:14 The African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS) Sudan Protests: Urgent call for investigations into the custodial death of three University students and alleged torture of detainees by (...)


Copyright © 2003-2019 SudanTribune - All rights reserved.