Four Russian crew have been killed as South Sudan's army shot down a UN helicopter on a peacekeeping mission. The attack came a day after a UN peacekeeper shot himself and three others in Sudan.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has strongly condemned Friday's attack on the helicopter which he said was "clearly marked." He called on "the government of South Sudan to immediately carry out an investigation and bring to account those responsible for this act."
Ban demanded that measures be taken to prevent further incidents in South Sudan. The UN mission, known as UNMISS, was set up in July 2011 when the south seceded from Sudan.
The helicopter was on a reconnaissance mission in Jonglei state, an area where the South Sudan army has been fighting rebels led by David Yau Yau.
South Sudan's army first denied it had shot down the helicopter. It later admitted it had mistaken it for a Sudanese plane supplying Yau Yau rebels in Jonglei.
"We saw a white plane landing and asked UNMISS whether they had any flight in the area but they denied it. The army opened fire because it thought it was an enemy plane supplying Yau Yau with weapons," army spokesman Philip Aguer said. "We later heard UNMISS had a flight there. They should have informed us."
There have been six other incidents involving UNMISS aircraft since September 2011, according to the UN.
In September, South Sudanese soldiers killed ten of their own troops when they shot and sank a riverboat they mistook for an enemy vessel.
Shooting in Dafur, Sudan
In the Darfur region of Sudan, in a separate incident on Thursday, an international peacekeeper killed three others before killing himself, according to the UN led peacekeeping force, UNAMID.
"The mission is currently investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident," UNAMID spokeswoman Aicha Elbasri said on Friday. She added that one other person had been wounded in the attack.
UNAMID also reported this week that it was investigating whether the Sudanese air force had bombed two areas in North Darfur this week. "The Mission warns that continued fighting could lead to a catastrophic humanitarian situation for the displaced civilians in North Darfur," it said in a statement.
jm/av (Reuters, AFP)