Red Cross Pilot Killed as Plane Attacked over Sudan
A Danish pilot was killed on Wednesday when a plane he was flying for the International Committee of the Red Cross came under fire over southern Sudan, the ICRC said.
The killing came less than two weeks after six ICRC workers were attacked and killed in the northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo last month.
ICRC spokesman Michael Kleiner said the plane was midway between the southern Sudanese town of Juba and the northern Kenyan town of Lokichokio on a routine weekly flight when it was forced to descend due to a pressure problem in the cabin.
"That's when an explosion was heard and the co-pilot died almost instantly with a severe head injury," Kleiner said.
Kleiner said he had no information on who fired on the plane, which had no passengers and was returned safely to Lokichokio by the other pilot.
The ICRC named the dead Danish co-pilot as Ole Friis Eriksen, 26.
Sudan's southern-based rebels, the SPLA, said they were not aware of the attack.
"We don't take any responsibility over this, we have a very cordial relationship with the ICRC," SPLA spokesman Samson Kwaje told Reuters in Nairobi.
"Normally when they go to our area they ask for clearance which we always give, I'm surprised that this incident has happened," he said.
The SPLA has been fighting since 1983 to win more autonomy for the mainly animist and Christian south from the mainly Muslim, Arabic-speaking north.
The government was not immediately available for comment – NAIROBI (Reuters)
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