‘Hijacked’ Russian helicopter returns to base

July 28th, 2010 - 4:21 am ICT by IANS  

Moscow, July 28 (IANS/RIA Novosti) A Russian helicopter allegedly hijacked by militants in Sudan returned unscathed to its base in Darfur Tuesday, aviation company said.
Earlier Tuesday, Russian foreign ministry said a helicopter with four crew members and five passengers operating in Darfur had been hijacked.

The aviation company that owns the helicopter, UTAir, said in a statement that the helicopter had returned to its home base in western Sudan. The helicopter was not damaged and the crew and passengers are safe.

“After landing at a stopover point in Sudan, the helicopter was detained by Sudanese authorities,” the statement read. Monday, the chopper was en route from Al-Fashir, Sudan, to a village in Chad on a UN mission.

“UN representatives are presently investigating the incident. UTAir and the Russian embassy along with UN representatives in Sudan are taking all measures to clarify the situation,” the statement said.

The helicopter was working in Sudan on a UN contract. When it was hijacked, it was on a joint UN and African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur.

Russia has been maintaining a peacekeeping contingent in the war-torn country since April 2006 as part of the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS).

–IANS/RIA Novosti

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