Myanmar chopper comes down in north battle zone
APYANGON, Myanmar -- Kachin ethnic rebels battling the army in northern Myanmar say they shot down a government helicopter, but the army says it crashed due to engine failure.
January 13, 2013, 12:02 am TWN
An emailed announcement from the Kachin guerrillas says they shot down the helicopter late Friday as heavy fighting raged.
Deputy Information Minister and President's Spokesman Ye Htut on his Facebook page confirmed the crash of a government helicopter but said engine failure was to blame.
It was the first helicopter crash since the military launched air strikes against the Kachin in the last week of December.
Both the government and the guerrillas have made misleading statements in the past about the fighting, which is in a remote area difficult for independent observers to access.
If the helicopter was shot down, it would represent a major loss of face for the government and complicate efforts to de-escalate the fighting.