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Rebels claim to have downed Sudanese military plane, army denies


08:48, December 21, 2012

KHARTOUM, Dec. 20 (Xinhua) -- Rebels of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM)/northern sector on Thursday said they shot a Sudanese army aircraft that was targeting Um Dorain area in South Kordofan State, causing it to crash at El-Obeid airport, but a Sudanese army spokesman denied.

"The movement's air force managed to shoot a Mig 23 plane belonging to the Sudanese army," said the SPLM/northern sector in a statement Thursday.

"The plane, along with two others, was targeting Um Dorain areas in South Kordofan State, where after it was shot, it completely crashed in El-Obeid on Wednesday afternoon," said the statement.

It added that the Sudanese army's aerial attack led to the killing of five people at Airi area and injuries of others at Sardiba area in South Kordofan.

But the Sudanese army spokesman Al-Sawarmy Khalid Saad denied the claims of the SPLM/northern sector.

"These claims are baseless because the plane which crashed at El-Obeid airport on Wednesday afternoon, was due to a technical fault," Saad told Xinhua.

"At first, the plane landed successfully at the airport, but the pilot could not stop it due to a technical fault which pushed him to take off again. When he attempted to land it for the second time, it crashed. This proves that the plane was suffering from a technical fault," he added.

He further refuted the movement's claims that five were killed in the aerial attacks by the Sudanese army as "untrue," noting that the Sudanese army does not attack civilians.

He reiterated that the Sudanese army operations were meant to end the rebellion and rescue the citizens from the rebels.

The Sudanese army on Wednesday announced that one of its fighting planes crashed at El-Obeid airport due to a technical fault.

South Kordofan State has been witnessing armed clashes between the Sudanese army and the SPLM/northern sector since 2011.

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