Home | News    Sunday 27 July 2003

Sudan holding Russian helicopter crew

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MOSCOW, July 27 (AFP) — The crew of a Russian helicopter sent on a UN mission to the Democratic Republic of Congo has been detained in Sudan for four days after being seized by Sudanese troops, the owner said Sunday.

Russian diplomats have been unable to contact the 13-member crew, which is being held at a Khartoum army barracks after their helicopter was captured Thursday in southwestern Sudan, the Vertical company said, according to Ria Novosti news agency.

Sudanese authorities initially suspected the helicopter could be carrying rebels, and then accused the crew of failing to complete formalitities to transit the country — allegations the company denied.

A civil war has been raging in Sudan for 20 years, with the Khartoum government fighting rebels in the south and more recently the west of the country.

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