Attrition: Russian Fighter Pilot Shot Down In Sudan



p> May 30, 2008: The death of a Russian fighter pilot in Sudan could not be kept secret, despite the best efforts of the Russian and Sudanese governments. The pilot was an instructor, stationed outside Khartoum, at an air base containing the dozen MiG-29 fighters Sudan bought four years ago. The Russian pilot took one of the MiG-29s into action on May 10th, when a convoy of nearly 200 trucks and jeeps approached the capital. The convoy contained 1,200 JEM rebels from Darfur. The heavily armed rebels were headed for the presidential palace when the MiG-29 attacked. But the rebels had some heavy (12.7mm and 14.5mm machine-guns) on some of those trucks, and the MiG-29 was hit and went down. The pilot ejected, but the chute didn't open and he died on impact.

The Sudanese government tried to keep the death, and loss of a Russian pilot, secret. At least one Sudanese radio station was shut down for broadcasting the "rumor." The story also got out in Russia, via the Internet and at least one independent radio station (the government controls all the network operations). The death of the pilot was known to his family and some of his Russian Air Force friends.

The JEM attack was halted, by Sudanese troops, before they could cross a river and reach the palace.

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