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Myanmar army, rebels trade claims over helicopter crash

Published on Jan 13, 2013 5:45 PM

YANGON (AFP) - Myanmar's state media said on Sunday three army personnel were killed when a helicopter crashed in conflict-torn northern Kachin state, rebutting rebel claims that the aircraft had been shot down.

The military helicopter was on a "security and administrative mission" on Friday when "engine failure" forced it to make an emergency landing, according to the English-language New Light of Myanmar newspaper.

"Some parts of the helicopter were damaged, and two pilots and one flight sergeant who were on board sacrificed their lives for the country," the report said, citing the defence ministry.

Growing fighting between the military and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) has overshadowed Myanmar's wider political reforms, with the US and UN recently condemning the army's use of air strikes in the state since December.

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