Sudanese government retaliates after helicopter gunned down by rebels (Updated)
The spokesman of the Minni Minawi faction, Adam Saleh, told Radio Dabanga they shot down the helicopter shortly after it was airborne on Sunday morning in the area of Kushini, west of Tabit. The helicopter was carrying three personnel and five injured soldiers, two of them high ranking officials. The helicopter was traveling from Tungur in East Jebel Marra to El Fasher.
Eyewitnesses told Radio Dabanga that government forces responded rapidly to the incident deploying Antonov aircrafts, helicopters and ground soldiers in the area. They attacked the towns in East Jebel Marra such as Khartoum Gidid, Kanjara, Jebel Koshni, Jebel Gooki, Rehad Jedal, Laskani, Tradunat. Eyewitness said they shot and bombed the towns randomly forcing the citizens to flee. He could not verify the number of causalities resulting from the government attack.
In a conflicting statement the spokesman of the Armed Forces, Colonel Al Sawarmi Khalid Saad, attributed the crash to technical failure. He said in a statement to the SUNA news agency that seven officers died during the accident and two others were injured, they were brought to the Military Hospital where they are receiving medical treatment.