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