'Helicopter with four crew crashes in Darfur'
Tuesday, 30 September 2008

REUTERS, KHARTOUM- A helicopter with four crew on board crashed in Sudan's Darfur region on Monday, the UN and peacekeepers said, although it is not yet known whether there were any casualties.

The private aircraft, contracted by the joint UN/African Union UNAMID peacekeeping mission in the region, came down soon after taking off from Nyala, the capital of South Darfur at about 9.15 a.m. local time (0615 GMT), said officers.
There was no information as to what had caused the crash.
"Soon after taking off from Nyala, a helicopter contracted to UNAMID suffered a mishap and went down," UNAMID spokesman Kemal Saiki told Reuters.
Saiki said four crew were on board the Sudan-registered Mi-8 helicopter - the pilot, the co-pilot, an engineer and a load manager.
He added the helicopter had been contracted to transport rations to UNAMID bases across the war-torn region.
Saiki said UNAMID was sending medical teams to the site.
UNAMID said four of its helicopters came under fire from late August to early September while flying over Darfur. The attacks have raised concerns among aid workers who rely on the flights to take them to remote corners of the area.
More than five years of fighting in Darfur has killed 200,000 and driven more than 2.5 million from their homes. UN agencies and aid groups have launched the world's largest humanitarian operation in response.
Khartoum accuses the western media of exaggerating the conflict and puts the death count at 10.000.

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