The Darfur Consortium

. . .

Local communities document deliberate targeting of civilians through aerial bombardment in Southern Kordofan

(Addis Ababa, 23 May 2013) A briefing by a group of local monitors circulated today by the Sudan Consortium alleges that civilians are being directly and deliberately targeted by the Sudanese armed forces in Southern Kordofan.

Distributed as preparations gear up for the arrival of Heads of State in Ethiopia for the 10th Anniversary celebrations of the African Union, the briefing remindsthe African Union that ongoing conflict, violence, and humanitarian and human rights crises in Sudan require their continued engagement.

Along with photographs taken by monitors in the aftermath of the incidents described, the briefing documents a series of bombing attacks in Southern Kordofan in late 2012/early 2013, with the most recent taking place on 19 March 2013.

Based on analysis of the pattern of attacks over the last six months in areas to which the monitors have access, the briefing suggests that:
  • the Government of Sudan continues to launch direct aerial bombing attacks on civilian areas and the civilian population in Southern Kordofan – primarily through the use of crudely constructed (and inherently indiscriminate) barrel-bombs which contain a mixture of flammable liquid and pieces of scrap metal, which are rolled out of the back of Sudanese Air Force (SAF) Antonov bomber aircraft from high altitude;
  • the attacks have resulted in the destruction of communal amenities and other essential civilian infrastructure necessary to sustain the basic survival of the civilian population, including water-points, markets, schools, clinics and places of worship;
  • the timing and geographical spread in the pattern of these aerial bombing attacks appears to indicate a deliberate intention to disrupt the planting and harvesting of food crops, in addition to food distribution (eg. the bombing of markets on market days) in SPLM-N held areas.
The Sudan Consortium  has been working with a trusted group of local Sudanese partners who have been working on the ground in Southern Kordofan since the current conflict began in late 2011.

Read the full briefing here.
**Warning some of the photos in the briefing are disturbing**


Since the outbreak of conflict in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states in Sudan in 2011, multiple credible allegations have been made—and continue to be made—of the commission of human rights violations and atrocity crimes in, and related to, the conflicts.  The allegations of prohibited conduct include: intentional attacks against civilians (in particular through shelling and bombing of civilian areas), unlawful killings of civilians, torture, forcible displacement of civilian populations, and persecution. In some instances these acts appear to have been committed as part of widespread or systematic attacks directed against civilian populations.

Although allegations of violations have been made against both sides of the conflict, the overwhelming majority of the allegations and other relevant information appear to implicate forces of the government of Sudan and aligned armed groups. The Government of Sudan is lawfully permitted to use force in response to armed action by others on its territory. However, the means and methods it may employ are not unfettered: a fundamental norm of international humanitarian law is that civilians should not be the object of attack. The human toll of this strategy has been enormous with some estimates of over a million and a quarter displaced internally and as refugees and hundreds of thousands facing a humanitarian emergency. With farmers having been prevented in many places from cultivating crops through 2012, with the most recent growing season having been severely affected by drought, and with the ability to harvest affected by continued bombings, food insecurity has significantly increased. An assessment at the end of 2012 indicated that 81% of households in the SPLM-N controlled areas of Southern Kordofan survive on one meal a day, while 73% have no income to purchase food.

Despite the signature of a Joint African Union/League of Arab States/United Nations Proposal for Access to Provide and Deliver Humanitarian Assistance to War-Affected Civilians in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile States in February 2012 and subsequent memoranda of understanding relating to the implementation of the agreement, the Government of Sudan continues to deny formal access by humanitarian organisations into those areas of Southern Kordofan that are currently under the control of SPLM-N.


Read the full briefing here.

**Warning some of the photos in the briefing are disturbing**






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