Bodies of crew members killed in downed UN copter flown home

Tuesday, December 25, 2012
UN peacekeepers pay their last respects to Russian crew members
[PHOTO: UNifeed] 
Juba, South Sudan: The bodies of four Russian crew members killed when a UN peacekeeping helicopter was shot down in Jonglei State on Friday have been flown back home.

In a memorial ceremony held at the UNMISS compound near Juba International Airport on Monday morning, South Sudanese Deputy Defense Minister Majak D'Agoot conveyed the government's condolences to the families of the deceased and expressed the Government's commitment to fully investigate the incident.

"We regret the incident and my government has committed itself to investigate and establish the facts behind the circumstances that led to this tragedy," D'Agoot said.

In her remarks, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for South Sudan Hilde F. Johnson highlighted the mandate of the UN Mission to protect civilians in Jonglei, adding that the Russian peacekeepers died in the line of duty.  She also welcomed the government's undertaking to bring to justice those responsible for the attack on the aircraft.

He said, "I welcome the expression of determination of the government of South Sudan to conduct an investigation immediately and to bring to justice those who are accountable.  Both the Vice President and the President of the Republic of South Sudan have personally conveyed this strong message to me on Saturday and they are committed to let nothing like this ever happen again."

The chopper was shot down on Friday morning seven kilometers northwest of the settlement of Likuangole in Jonglei State. -UNifeed
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