14 December 2013

Sudan: Thousands Displaced in Widespread Bomb Attacks in S. Kordofan - SPLM-N

Khartoum — The Sudanese government is continuing its scorched earth policy in South Kordofan, with a series of recent bomb attacks displacing thousands of people and causing widespread destruction of property, the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) said in a statement.

Children sit in front of their shelter in Bram village in the Nuba Mountains in South Kordofan on 28 April 2012 (Reuters)

Spokesperson Arnu Ngutulu Lodi said air strikes had been followed with ground attacks, with Sudanese army (SAF) soldiers and militias looting and burning homes.

He says the humanitarian situation is deteriorating, with increasing numbers of people without food, shelter of medicine.

According to the SPLM-N, an attack on Kega-Alkhail area displaced 2,000 people from Jigeba, Torlet and Kuldang villages, which were completely destroyed.

In a separate bomb attack on Kanga and Lima villages, 287 families fled to caves, riverbeds and the bush in Korongo area, the SPLN-N said.

It says the Sudanese air force is also responsible for a bomb attack on Hajar-hatab village in Hieban county on 8 December, injuring eight civilians and destroying 10 farms, while on 10 December, a Sokhoy plane bombed Tanasa village in Boram county, damaging the village market, with several areas in Hieban county also targeted on 11 December, including Mandi and Komo village and Kauda town.

"These attacks caused terror, fear among the civilians, specially the children who have been denied food and medicine by [Sudanese] president [Omer Hassan] al-Bashir", Lodi said.

The border states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile state has been the scene of violent conflict since 2011 when the SPLM-N launched an insurgency against the Khartoum regime.

Advocacy groups have long accused the Sudanese government of applying a scorched earth policy in the region as a military strategy, with hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing to South Sudan and Ethiopia to escape the bomb attacks.

Peace talks between the two parties remain deadlocked after they failed to reach a common ground for negotiations. While the government says it is only willing to discuss the conflict in the Two Areas, the SPLM-N is demanding a comprehensive peace process.

Last month, SAF announced the beginning of extensive military operations to end rebellion in the country, pledging to eliminate all rebel groups by 2014.

According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), some 197,000 Sudanese refugees from South Kordofan and Blue Nile states have sought shelter in camps in South Sudan's Unity and Upper Nile states since the conflict began.

In the same period, an estimated 32,000 refugees, mainly from Blue Nile, have fled to the Assosa region of Ethiopia.

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