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Darfur Rebel Group Claims Downing of Sudanese Plane


A Darfur rebel leader says his group has shot down a Sudanese government military plane.

The leader of the rebel Justice and Equality Movement, Khalil Ibrahim, told reporters Thursday that his forces hit a government Antonov aircraft as it flew over the city of Geneina in western Darfur. He said the plane crashed near Nyala, in southern Darfur.

There has been no confirmation of the claim, and no comment from the Sudanese army.

The rebel leader warned that JEM will attack any government aircraft that tries to fly over Darfur, including commercial flights. He said the United Nations and other organizations must obtain permission from JEM before entering what he said is a no-fly zone.

The JEM has boycotted peace talks, sponsored by the United Nations and African Union, aimed at ending the conflict between rebels and the government.

The conflict that started in 2003 has claimed 200,000 lives and displaced more than 2.5 million people.

JEM claims to have Geneina under siege.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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