World Food Programme aircrew recovered from Sudan
World Food Programme (WFP) aircrew have been recovered by the UN, after the six Bulgarians were forced to land their helicopter by the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-North (SPLM-N) in a remote area of Sudan’s South Kordofan state.
The WFP crew members reached a WFP office in Yida near the border with South Kordofan on Sunday morning. A group known as the New Sudan Women’s League says that they engaged with the SPLM-N to arrange the return of the crew.
The SPLM-N took custody of the crew after the Mi-8 helicopter went down in South Kordofan last Monday.
The WFP worked closely with authorities to locate and recover the crew and the WFP thanked the Government of Sudan for its support in working for the safe return of all crew members.
“It is regrettable that this incident took place. However we are greatly relieved that the WFP crew members are unhurt and back with us,” said Ertharin Cousin, WFP executive director.
The crew later were flown on Sunday by a WFP-contracted aircraft from Yida to the Southern Sudanese capital of Juba.
Their helicopter made an emergency landing under fire as it was flying from Rumbek in South Sudan to Khartoum in Sudan where it was due to undergo regular maintenance.