UN transport helicopter said shot down in South Sudan war zone; 3 dead

The United Nations has said one of its helicopters has crashed in a restive region of South Sudan killing three crew members, amid reports it was shot down. The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) said the aircraft came down about 10 kilometres south of the town of Bentiu in the northern Unity state. A crew member survived the impact and was receiving treatment from the Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) team in Bentiu, the mission said. The mission said the MI-8 helicopter was on a routine cargo flight from Wau in western Bahr El Ghazal state to Bentiu, when it crashed.

I wish to convey my heartfelt condolences to the families of the deceased and wish a full and speedy recovery to the injured crew member.

Toby Lanzer, officer-in-charge, UN Mission in South Sudan

The region has recently been the site of fierce fighting between the government and rebel forces. UNMISS said it was launching an investigation to determine the cause of the crash. Separately, a UN official speaking on condition of anonymity told The Associated Press that it appeared the helicopter was shot down. South Sudan has been engulfed in a violent civil conflict that has caused the displacement of almost 2 million people in the last eight months.