Helicopter not downed in Kordofan – army

2014-07-03 15:16


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Khartoum - Sudan's military on Thursday denied one of its helicopter gunships had been shot down in South Kordofan, after rebels released photographs claiming to show the crippled machine.

"No one shot any of our aircraft," Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) spokesperson Sawarmi Khaled Saad told AFP.

He said a helicopter had, however, made an emergency landing eight days ago in South Kordofan.

"The pilot informed his commander, and SAF recovered the helicopter," Saad said.

On Wednesday the Sudan People's Liberation Army-North (SPLA-N) said its forces had "managed to shoot down" a helicopter gunship on June 28 in the Dilling area of South Kordofan.

Neglect and discrimination

The SPLA-N released two photos of what it said was the aircraft after machinegun fire caused it to crash.

The rebels said they obtained the images from "sources" at the site which was heavily guarded by government troops.

The insurgents have previously claimed to have shot down government aircraft during the three-year war but did not provide evidence.

Fighting in South Kordofan has intensified over the past couple of months.

Like the 11-year conflict in Sudan's Darfur, the South Kordofan war has been fuelled by complaints among non-Arab groups of neglect and discrimination by the Arab-dominated regime in Khartoum.

More than one million people have been affected by the fighting in South Kordofan and a smaller-scale conflict in Blue Nile state.

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