NAIROBI, Kenya -- A rare video shot by a soldier in a unit nicknamed the "match battalion" shows Sudanese troops burning a village in southern Sudan last year.

The 5-minute cellphone video shows bright orange flames burning through a stick-hut village. One soldier carries a flaming torch as the sound of gunfire cracks in the background.

The video was shared on Monday with The Associated Press by Ryan Boyette, an American who lives in Southern Kordofan, a state in Sudan where rebel fighters often associated with South Sudan are battling troops from the Sudanese Armed Forces.

The video was found on the body of a dead Sudanese soldier, Boyette said. He estimates that the burning of the village – Umbartumbo, in Southern Kordofan – took place last August. The AP could not verify the date or location of the video. Boyette said the video is the first time images of Sudanese troops burning villages have surfaced during the one-year conflict.

Boyette said Monday that SAF forces usually burn villages that it occupies in areas controlled by rebel fighters known by the initials SPLA-N, or Sudan People's Liberation Army-North. The SPLA – without the "N" for North – is a former rebel movement that is now the legitimate army of the separate nation of South Sudan.

In the cellphone video, gray smoke hangs over the village. The apparent owner of the cellphone poses in front of the camera multiple times. The commander of the troops gives orders in Sudanese Arabic.

Boyette said that Sudanese troops frequently burn villages. The most recent burning, he said, occurred May 20 in the village of Angolo.

Fighting between Sudanese and SPLA-N forces began one year ago. The violence has sent tens of thousands of civilians fleeing for safety. Aid groups have pleaded with Sudan to allow them to operate in Southern Kordofan to help those in need but Sudan continues to ban them from operating.

The fighting is part of the web of violence across the Sudan-South Sudan border. South Sudan broke away from Sudan last July after a peaceful vote. That referendum was the result of a 2005 peace deal that ended decades of fighting between the two Sudans. Despite that accord and last year's peaceful split, violence still hangs over the border region.

SUDAN SOUTH SUDAN CONFLICT:

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  • Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) forces at the frontline in Tachuien, Unity State, South Sudan on Friday, May 11, 2012. In late April, tensions between Sudan and South Sudan erupted into armed conflict along their poorly defined border. (AP Photo/Pete Muller)

  • Inactive and abandoned oil installations seen near frontline positions north of Bentiu, Unity State, South Sudan on Friday, May 11, 2012. In January, South Sudan shutdown oil production during a dispute with the Republic of Sudan over oil transit fees. The shutdown has created financial crises in both countries. (AP Photo/Pete Muller)

  • A mother and daughter from South Kordofan, Sudan, at a feeding center for the acutely malnourished in the Yida refugee camp in Unity State, South Sudan on Saturday May 12, 2012. Heavy fighting between Sudanese government forces and rebels in South Kordofan disrupted the usual agricultural cycle and created extreme food shortages. (AP Photo/Pete Muller)

  • Refugees from South Kordofan, in the Republic of Sudan, await distribution of basic goods in the Yida refugee camp in Unity State, South Sudan on Saturday May 12, 2012. More than 30,000 refugees currently reside in Yida having fled war between the government of the Republic of Sudan and rebel forces in South Kordofan. In recent weeks, aid agencies have reported a steep influx of new arrivals, at times exceeding 700 per day. (AP Photo/Pete Muller)

  • Southern Sudanese soldiers rest inside the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) headquarters in Bentiu, Unity State, South Sudan on Friday, May 11, 2012. In late April, tensions between Sudan and South Sudan erupted into armed conflict along their poorly defined border. (AP Photo/Pete Muller)

  • Soldiers from the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) examine a map at the frontline position in Pana Kuach, Unity State, South Sudan, Friday May 11 2012. In late April, tensions between Sudan and South Sudan erupted into conflict along their poorly defined border. (AP Photo/Pete Muller)

  • Refugees from South Kordofan, Sudan, in the Yida refugee camp in Unity State, South Sudan on Saturday May 12, 2012. More than 30,000 refugees currently reside in Yida having fled war between the government of the Republic of Sudan and rebel forces in South Kordofan. (AP Photo/Pete Muller)

  • Sudan People's Liberation Army soldiers drive toward frontline positions near Pana Kuach, South Sudan on Friday May 11, 2012. In late April, tensions between Sudan and South Sudan erupted into conflict along their poorly defined border. (AP Photo/Pete Muller)

  • Refugees from South Kordofan, Sudan, await distribution of basic goods in the Yida refugee camp in Unity State, South Sudan on Saturday May 12, 2012. More than 30,000 refugees currently reside in Yida having fled war between the government of the Republic of Sudan and rebel forces in South Kordofan. In recent weeks, aid agencies have reported a steep influx of new arrivals, at times exceeding 700 per day. (AP Photo/Pete Muller)

  • A Sudan People's Liberation Movement Army (SPLA) solider has his hair cut at a frontline position in Pana Kuach, Unity State, South Sudan on Friday, May 11, 2012. In late April, tensions between Sudan and South Sudan erupted into armed conflict along their poorly defined border. (AP Photo/Pete Muller)

  • Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) soldiers inspect ordinance dropped by the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) at a frontline position in Pana Kuach, Unity State, South Sudan. SAF forces regularly employ air strikes, a capability that southern forces lack. In late April, tensions between Sudan and South Sudan erupted into armed conflict along their poorly defined border. (AP Photo/Pete Muller)



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