Bulgarian Helicopter Crew Captured by Sudanese Rebels
Six Bulgarian citizens were captured by members of the ''Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North" (SPLM-North) on Monday.
The incident happened when a helicopter owned by a Bulgarian airline company had to make an emergency landing at the city of Kadugli.
It was operating under a contract for the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), a development mechanism for underprivileged regions across the world.
The flight was scheduled from Rumbek ( Republic of South Sudan) to Khartoum (Republic of Sudan).
It had received government permission to enter the airspaces of both countries, as stated by the Press Office of the Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The SPLM-North is a banned militant organization, fighting the local government in the Republic of Sudan.
After the longest running civil war in Africa ended in 2005 with a peace deal, in 2011 two separate states were formed to avoid further violence - Republic of Sudan, and Republic of South Sudan.
However, a number of militant organizations have emerged, fighting for control over the most valuable resource in the region - oil.
The Sudanese government has sent a military aircraft to track the Bulgarian helicopter and it appeared to be in good condition. The manager of the aircraft company has said that the six Bulgarians ''are safe and are feeling well''.
UN WFP representatives, the Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and other international organizations are in contact with the SPLM-North, making efforts to secure the release of the six civilians.
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