MOSCOW, March 29 (RIA Novosti) – Russian investigators said Friday that a murder case had been opened in connection with the Mi-8 helicopter crash in South Sudan that killed four people on December 21.
A United Nations helicopter with a Russian crew was downed in South Sudan near the settlement of Likuangole while taking off.
The UN said earlier that the helicopter had been shot down by South Sudan’s armed forces, known as the SPLA.
Back in December, SPLA spokesman Philip Aguer told Reuters that their forces had opened fire on the helicopter because they had no information from the UN mission about its presence in Pibor, where a rebel group is operating. Russian officials, however, maintain that the UN had informed the military command of South Sudan.
The Investigative Committee said in a statement on Friday that it had already received essential data from the Foreign Ministry and Russian Federal Air Transportation Agency that will help to determine the circumstances of the incident.
Russia estimates the cost of the loss of the helicopter at over 26 million rubles ($83,500), the statement said.