Rebels in Sudan's war-torn Darfur region say they have shot down an unmanned spy plane which, they say, the Sudanese government was using to track their positions.

A spokesman for the Sudan Liberation Army said its forces shot down the unmanned drone Thursday in the central mountainous Jabel Marra area.

A Sudanese army spokesman said an unmanned plane had made an emergency landing in the area, but was not able to say whether the aircraft was shot down.

Rebels say the aircraft appears to be Chinese-made.

Rights groups criticize China for selling weapons to Sudan's government which, they say, are used against rebels in Darfur.

More than five years of fighting in Darfur among rebel groups, the government and government-allied militias have killed more than 200,000 people and displaced more than 2.5 million others.

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