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Sudan Rebels Say They Downed Antonov Plane in Southern Kordofan

Sudanese rebels said they shot down a government aircraft while it was bombing villages in oil-rich Southern Kordofan state.

The rebel Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement-North said it used an anti-aircraft machine gun to down the Antonov on Dec. 11 as it was bombing the Umdorain area. An SPLM-N patrol has visited the crash site and the rebels will release pictures “soon,” spokesman Arnu Lodi said today in an e-mailed statement. Sudanese army spokesman al-Sawarmi Khaled didn’t answer six calls to his phone seeking comment.

Clashes started more than a year ago in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states between Sudanese President Umar al-Bashir’s government and rebels who fought during a two-decade civil war alongside the forces of South Sudan, which gained independence in July last year. About 180,000 people have fled the violence into South Sudan, according to the United Nations.

Government forces burned Almanzala village on Dec. 15, displacing 500 families before SPLM-N fighters pushed them out of the area, Lodi said in a statement e-mailed yesterday. The rebels killed 12 members of the Sudanese armed forces and a pro-government militia and wounded 16 in the battle, he said.

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