Six Bulgarian air crew members working for the World Food Programme who had been held by a rebel group had been freed and were in a safe place in South Sudan, Bulgaria’s Foreign Ministry said on February 1 2015.
The group were held by the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-North) on January 26 after their helicopter was forced down.
The ministry said that the air crew were in a safe place in the Republic of South Sudan in the hands of a team of the World Food Programme of the United Nations.
The Foreign Ministry thanked the UN WFP and its teams on the ground in South Sudan, and the office of the Deputy Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, and also expressed gratitude for the constructive role of the Government of Sudan to resolve the situation involving the Bulgarian citizens.
Employed by the Bulgarian HeliAir company and working on contract for the WFP, the group was the subject of high-level negotiations for some days after their helicopter was forced down in rebel-controlled territory near the town of Kadugli.