Sudan: Bombings continue in Nuba Mountains

Sudanese body with cross

Sudanese body with cross

Despite a ceasefire, military strikes against civilians have continued in Sudan's disputed South Kordofan state.

Sources in the Nuba Mountains told Aid to the Church in Need  (ACN) that the government in Khartoum have continued military operations – despite President Omer Al-Bashir's claims that a 23 August ceasefire has restored calm in the region.

The sources said: "There is no ceasefire in any real sense because Bashir is talking of ceasefire but different things are happening on the ground. We hope the UN will come."

The government has continued attacks in the area surrounding the Nuba Mountains in South Kordofan, demanding that tens of thousands of rebel fighters in the region disarm and retract demands for increased autonomy.

Military spokesman Alsoarmi Khaled issued a statement on 31 August denying claims by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch that air strikes have continued after the ceasefire.

But, reports passed to ACN by John Ashworth of the Sudan Ecumenical Forum revealed ongoing fighting in the region, including aerial attacks. They said: “There is no shelling but there is fighting in Mendi. Yes we hear heavy guns and the bombing of the Antonov."

Khartoum's Antonov bombers also struck Almasha secondary school in Kauda on Monday 22 August the day before the ceasefire. The source added that Mendi, Lumon, Kerker, Tabari and Luki were also attacked. "Only two people were injured in Kauda and in the rest of the places [they only] killed animals," he said.

Bombing raids have killed at least 26, injured at least 46 and caused up to 150,000 to flee their homes.

Fighting is also leading to a shortage of food in the region. ACN sources said: "There is no food in the market and the bombing is still serious. There was little food in stock but it is almost finished in the markets. Yes people are sharing but the food is not enough."

It was also reported that most people are seeking shelter from the conflict in the mountains – and heavy rain has caused some sickness in the region.

The Khartoum government has accused South Sudan of providing support to rebel groups in South Kordofan and Darfur and lodged an official complaint with the United Nations Security Council.

Responding to these claims South Sudan's Information Minister, Barnaba Marial Benjamin said to Reuters: "Khartoum is trying to set up a smokescreen to cover up Security Council concerns that they are bombing civilians in South Kordofan... The government of Sudan has failed to bring peace to Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile. They are looking for a scapegoat and blaming the South."

According to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 2005,  a consultation process was to take place in South Kordofan in 2011 to determine the future of the state.

Source: ACN

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