BEIRUT

Middle East

Open letter: End Sudan civilian bombings

File - Sudanese soldiers rally in the capital Khartoum following a speech by Field Commander Brig. (AFP PHOTO/ASHRAF SHAZLY)

BEIRUT: A group of 46 organizations have written an open letter calling for the international community to put an end to the “unprecedented and intense” bombing of civilians in Sudan’s South Kordofan and Blue Nile regions amidst the conflict there.

Sudan has been embroiled in a three-year war with the northern branch of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM-N). The conflict began following the controversial election of the ruling National Congress Party candidate Ahmad Haroun as governor of South Kordofan. Haroun, along with President Omar al-Bashir, is wanted on charges for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The letter, addressed to the U.N. Security Council, the African Union Peace and Security Council and the League of Arab States, accuses the government of further crimes against humanity as it details airstrikes reportedly carried out by the government in purely civilian areas.

“We are deeply concerned that in just four days in May, the town of Kauda and surrounding villages, far from the frontlines of the conflict, were hit by nearly 60 bombs that damaged the offices of the main local humanitarian organization in the region and nearly destroyed a school,” the letter states.

“Civilians are being terrorized. They are too frightened to leave their foxholes and caves to plant their crops, which means the suffering will only worsen when they have nothing to harvest in a few months time,” said Najwa Konda, executive director of Nuba Relief, Rehabilitation and Development Organization, in a statement alongside the letter.

The increased attacks are in line with the army’s “Decisive Summer Action” which the defense minister announced to parliament in 2013.

The U.N. estimates that over 900,000 people are either displaced or ‘severely affected’ by the conflict.

“We fear that the international community is standing by while the government of Sudan is unleashing a brutal campaign of terror on its own people, and once again using hunger as a weapon of war,” said Suliman Baldo of Sudan Democracy First Group.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on June 11, 2014, on page 9.

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