BEIRUT

Middle East

U.S. accuses Sudan of stepping up civilian attacks

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

UNITED NATIONS: The U.S. ambassador to the U.N. accused Sudan late Thursday of intensifying attacks on civilians and of deliberately bombing schools and hospitals.

Samantha Power condemned “in the strongest possible terms” attacks she said were being carried out by the Sudanese government and its rapid support forces against ordinary people.

Ground and air attacks have increased since April, with hundreds of barrel bombs and other ordnance dropped on towns and villages, deliberately targeting hospitals and schools, she said.

The United States was also disturbed by reports of airstrikes targeting civilian aid workers which if accurate would seriously violate international law, she said.

Ethnic minority rebels in the area have been fighting government forces for three years in a largely hidden war which the United Nations says has affected more than a million people.

Unrest has been fueled by grievances among non-Arab groups over neglect and discrimination by the Arab-dominated government in Khartoum.

“The uptick in violence in South Kordofan and Blue Nile has displaced or severely affected approximately 1.2 million people; it has increased the population’s vulnerability to disease and malnutrition; and it has disrupted planting cycles, which will only compound food insecurity in the regions,” Power said.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on June 14, 2014, on page 12.

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