Russian pilot missing in Sudan's Darfur found: UN

29th July 2010, Comments 0 comments

The Russian helicopter pilot who went missing while on a mission in Sudan's war-torn Darfur region was found and returned to his peacekeepers' base on Thursday, a UN spokesman said.

Sudanese authorities "asked us to send a helicopter from Nyala to a place east of Kass to recover the Russian pilot" missing since Monday, said Kemal Saiki of the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID).

"At about 20:15 (1715 GMT), the helicopter returned to our base in Nyala with the pilot. He is under medical observation. We will have further details on the circumstances after a debriefing tomorrow," he told AFP.

"We have no details on the circumstances of his disappearance for the time being."

In Moscow, Russian official Mikhail Marguelov, quoted by Interfax news agency, said pilot Yevgeny Mostovshchikov, who had been "taken prisoner has been freed and is back in the UN mission" in the Darfur region of west Sudan.

His helicopter, which belonged to Russian company UTair, was contracted to the United Nations and was carrying rebels to talks in neighbouring Chad with representatives of the Sudanese government.

It landed in south Darfur "to pick up another group of rebels and transport them to Chad," according to the Russian foreign ministry. The helicopter returned to Nyala on Tuesday with three of its four crew members.

UNAMID said the group had "fallen into the hands of unidentified hostile elements" and been "attacked and beaten up by unknown armed men in uniform."

© 2010 AFP

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