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Sudanese troops die in helicopter crash

06 June 2013, 18:08

Khartoum - Two Sudanese air force crew died on Thursday when their helicopter crashed in war-torn Blue Nile state, the army said, a week after another chopper went down in conflict-plagued South Kordofan.

The incident happened near the airport outside Ed Damazin, the capital of Blue Nile state, said army spokesperson Sawarmi Khaled Saad.

"A military helicopter on a training flight crashed into an electricity tower," he said. 

Rebels claimed to have shot down the aircraft, although the Damazin area is government-controlled.

Insurgents of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) in Blue Nile and South Kordofan have been fighting for two years.

Last Friday the Sudan Revolutionary Front, a rebel coalition to which SPLM-N belongs, said it shot down a military helicopter in South Kordofan.

A witness there reported seeing smoke trailing from the aircraft above the town of Abu Kershola.

The military relies heavily on air power in its campaign against the SPLM-N, as well as in battle against rebels from Darfur, in Sudan's far west.

The air force fleet of Russian-made planes and helicopters has suffered a number of losses in recent years, with the military frequently blaming technical problems.



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