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3rd Issue of the Sudan Human Rights and Humanitarian Bulletin for the

12-02-2013, 03:32 PM

3rd Issue of the Sudan Human Rights and Humanitarian Bulletin for the

    Sudan Human Rights and Humanitarian Bulletin
    Issue No 3
    16 – 30 November 2013
    The Sudan Human Rights and Humanitarian Bulletin (Sudan HRH Bulletin) is a fortnightly report on the human rights and humanitarian situation in Sudan issued by Darfur Relief and Documentation Centre (DRDC). Information in this Bulletin is compiled from different sources, including interviews with eye witnesses and victims of violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. Prime sources for some information in this Bulletin are Radio Dabanga http://www.radiodabanga.org and the weekly Humanitarian Bulletin on Sudan issued by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) http://unocha.org/sudan
    27, Ch. des Creand#770;ts-de-Pregny, 1218 Grand-Saconnex, Geneva (Switzerland) Tel: +41 22 747 00 89 Fax: +41 22 747 00 38 E-mail: [email protected] Webpage http://www.darfurcentre.ch
    General Observations
    The human rights and humanitarian situation in Sudan continued to deteriorate during the last two weeks. Full-blown war between the army and the insurgent groups in South and West Kordofan States has erupted with major military operations around Dilling and Abukarshola area in South Kordofan. There are reports of scorched-earth tactics being used through aerial bombardment and ground attacks by the army and militiamen targeting habitats, farms and fruit plantations with serious consequences on the safety of civilians thus forcing thousands to become internally displaced persons (IDPs). In Darfur, military build-up and bombardment of civilians as well as atrocities by the security forces and militiamen has been reported. On 19 November 2013, the AU and UN Joint Special Representative for Darfur and Head of the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) expressed his concern and worries over the deteriorating security and worsening humanitarian situations across Darfur, the intensifying inter-tribal conflicts and the excessively high number of casualties. Millions of civilians live in unacceptable conditions lacking basic necessities due to limited access to the armed conflict zones in Darfur, South and West Kordofan and the Blue Nile States.
    Abuses of civil and political rights and fundamental liberties have been reported during the last two weeks. Unknown numbers of political dissidents are being detained without charges or trial in different parts of Sudan. Political detainees are usually held incommunicado under deplorable conditions in detention centres controlled by the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) where torture is reportedly rampant. Harassment and intimidation of political activists and journalists through court proceedings have also been reported. Violations of fundamental rights and liberties in Sudan are committed by the government apparatus against the background that Sudan is a state party to the core body of regional and international human rights and humanitarian law, and, as such, it is under legal obligation to respect the rights and liberties provided in these instruments.1
    A. Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms 1. Violations of Civil and Political Rights
    Mr. Mohamed Ali Mohamedou A. Sabi, a journalist with Al-Akhbar daily newspaper has been detained incommunicado in a security facility since his arrest in Khartoum on 28 September 2013. The reasons for the continued detention of Mr. Sabi are not clear as all other journalists arrested for their perceived role in the September/October demonstrations have now been released. On 19 November 2013, the NISS allowed his brother to meet him for a brief period of time in Kober prison where he was relocated for this visit and later taken to an unknown destination. Information emerging after this visit revealed that his health condition is deteriorating rapidly and he could not walk normally. There are serious fears about the safety and security of Mr. Sabi.
    1 Sudan is a State Party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the International Convention on the Rights of the Child. It is a state party to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. Sudan is a contracting party to the Geneva Conventions on International Humanitarian Law. It is also a signatory to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), and, as such, it should refrain from any practice or act which defeats the object and purpose of the Rome Statute.
    Trials of people that allegedly participated in the public protests, which recently took place in Sudan continued. On 17 November 2013, some 33 young men appeared before court in Khartoum North. At least 4 under age children (Mohamed El-Sir Mokhtar, 14 years, Abdelrahman Al-Ameen and Ayeman Abdelbagi 16 years each and Mohamed Al-Mubarak, 17 years old) were among the defendants. Subjecting minors to criminal court proceedings in normal courts violates Sudan’s National Child Act of 2010 and its obligations under relevant regional and international human rights treaties. Five of the defendants in Case No 8670/2013 and Case No 8700/2013 were acquitted by Al-Klakla Criminal Court in Khartoum (Sudan HRH Bulletin, Issue No 2).
    More information has been revealed about the response of the security forces during the public demonstrations of September/October 2013. A physician and eye witness of the demonstrations denounced the excessive use of tear gas by the police to disperse the crowds and expressed serious concern that the tear gas used by the security forces against the demonstrators has harmful effects on the nerves of its victims. It was affirmed that some of the victims of tear gas attacks showed symptoms of epileptic seizure or muscle fasciculation and wheezing or chest tightness. One of the women killed during the last demonstration in Al-Thawara suburb of Omdurman died as a direct result of an attack by a tear gas bomb. According to the Chairperson of the Sudan Doctors’ Union, Dr. Ahmed El-Shiekh, the munitions used by the NISS agents, which killed about 210 demonstrators, has an effect similar to cluster munitions as it explodes when it penetrates the bodies of the victims.
    Harassment and Intimidation of Women Activists
    Ms. Rania Ali Musa Mamoun, a novelist, is undergoing trial in Wad Madani in central Sudan. She was arrested together with her sister and brother on 23 September 2013 while they were taking part in a public demonstration during which her younger brother was injured and needed medical attention. Ms. Mamoun, along with her sister and brother were detained for one night in the company of a crowd of male captives without regard for their privacy. Ms. Mamoun reported to the media that she was badly tortured, beaten, sexually assaulted and threatened with rape. She awaits trial under the Sudanese Penal Code of 1991. Ms. Amira Osman Hamed, a 35 year old electronic engineer and a women’s rights activist, has been harassed by the Public Order Police many times in recent months. She was arrested on 27 August 2013 and jailed for hours before her release on bail. She is currently under trial in Jebel Awllea Court, South Khartoum accused of not covering her hair (her scarf fell off her head) in a public place. Such an absurd “crime” is punishable under the obscure article 152 of Sudan's Penal Code of 1991, which states that: “Whoever commits, in a public place, an indecent act or manner contrary to public morality, or wears an immoral dress, shall be punished with whipping, not exceeding forty lashes." If she is found guilty, Ms. Hamed will be sentenced to flogging in a public place.
    The trial of Ms. Hamed is not an isolated case and violations of women’s rights under the Public Order Regime are widespread all over Sudan. According to the government records, in 2008 some 43,000 cases were filed by the Public Order Police against women under articles 151 and 152 of Sudan’s Penal Code of 1991 (obscene acts) and (indecent behaviour) in Khartoum alone. In 2012 about 17 women were forced to sign declarations in which they commit not to wear certain clothes etc.
    Freedom of Expression and the Press
    Harassment and intimidation of journalists and publishers in addition to other methods of curtailment of freedom of expression continue unabated in Sudan. On 18 November 2013 the NISS summoned Mr. Idriss El-Doma, Editor-in-Chief of Al-Jareeda daily in Khartoum together with Mr. Mohamed El-Kamil Abdelrahman, a journalist and regular columnist in Al-Jareeda. They were questioned about the contents of an article published on 17 November 2013 written by Mr. Abdelrahman in his daily column in which he warned that the armed conflict in Darfur could spill over into the African sub- region as a result of the growing military alliance between Sudan and Chad and the latter’s direct involvement in Sudan’s military efforts to end insurgency in the region. NISS officers threatened Mr. El-Doma that his newspaper will be shut down if it continues to publish articles which threaten State security. Mr. Abdelrahman was also threatened that his column would be discontinued in case he propagates negative information. On 20 November 2013 the Constitutional Court of Sudan, sitting as a court of first instance, condemned Mr. El-Doma and his colleague Ms. Soa’ad Al-Khadir for “insult of the Constitutional Court.” Their crime is that Ms. Al-Khadir published an interview in which it was stated that “The Constitutional Court would be heading to the dustbin of history if it fails the citizenry by refraining to decree the government’s decision to lift subsides of fuel prices null and void.”
    Mr. Khalid Ahmed, a journalist with Al-Sudani Newspaper is currently under trial in a criminal case brought against him by the Sudanese Armed Forces, which accuses him of committing crimes against the State, including propagating false information, and conspiracy against the army. If he is found guilty, he risks being sentenced to capital punishment or life imprisonment. Mr. Faisal Mohamed Salih, an internationally recognized journalist and human rights activist, and Mr. Idriss Hassan are under trial in a criminal case brought against them by the NISS. They are accused of “defamation of a sovereign government apparatus.” In March 2011, Mr. Salih published an article in which he called on the authorities to investigate and prosecute three NISS agents accused by a young woman activist of humiliating and sexually assaulting her while she was detained by the NISS in Khartoum in February 2011. If they are convicted, they risk being sentenced to 10 years in prison.
    DRDC has learnt that the NISS is ordering journalists, who were summoned for questioning about their writings, to fill in a questionnaire detailing some personal information such as their telephone numbers and E-mail accounts as well as those of their relatives and friends. They are required to provide the names of relatives and friends, their addresses and workplaces. The journalists subject to NISS summons are also required to list the names of all the social media platforms that they visit and disclose their salaries and wealth, including assets that they own and any sources of income.
    2. SexualViolence
    Incidents of rape and sexual violence against women and girls as a means to terrorize the civilian population were reported in Darfur during the last two weeks. On 16 November 2013, militiamen in military uniform, gang-raped a 17 year old woman in the Arba’inat area, near El-Salam IDP camp. She is receiving medical treatment at Nyala
    hospital. On 23 November 2013, militiamen reportedly raped three young women and beat and injured three other elderly women. The women are residents of Hashaba IDP camp in Mershing locality, South Darfur State. On 24 November 2013, militiamen killed Mr. Bishara Bahar Hasaballah at El-Salam IDP camp in Nierteti, Central Darfur State. He was killed when he intervened to protect some women that were being harassed by government-backed militiamen.
    B. Security and Humanitarian Situation in Darfur
    The security and humanitarian situation in Darfur is heading towards what could be described as the worst scenario following the peak of the tragedy in late 2003 and early 2004. Military operations and clashes are increasing in a disturbing manner. The government is preparing for an overall military campaign in Darfur and attacks of militiamen against civilians have multiplied. Violence and killing spare no one in Darfur, including UNAMID peacekeepers and relief workers. On 24 November 2013 a UNAMID military convoy was ambushed by unknown gunmen in the Kabkabiya-Saraf Omra road in North Darfur State. A Rwandan soldier died as a result of this attack. This latest killing has now raised the number of peacekeepers who have lost their lives in the line of duty in Darfur to 14 casualties in 2013 alone. On 25 November 2013 two employees of the Sudanese Ministry of Health were shot and killed in Boukar area, south of El-Geneina, capital of West Darfur State. The victims had been part of a medical team vaccinating children against measles in the area when unidentified gunmen ambushed the victims and stole their vehicle.
    The humanitarian needs in Darfur and other armed conflict-affected areas of Sudan are on the increase due to the growing numbers of IDPs. According to the most recent UN estimates, which are largely conservative, the number of civilians forcibly displaced from their areas of origin in Darfur between January and November 2013 has reached about 450,000. This number surpasses the total number of people displaced in Darfur in the last two years combined together. Due to the on-going military operations in Darfur the numbers of IDPs is expected to increase further in the coming few weeks. Currently about 4.5 million civilians in Sudan are dependent on relief assistance and services coordinated by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), mainly in Darfur where conflicts have forced more than 2 million civilians to flee their homes and live in IDP settlements since 2003. In South Kordofan, West Kordofan and the Blue Nile States over a million people have been displaced or severely affected by the war since September 2011. The World Food Programme (WFP) in Sudan is feeding 3.9 million people of whom 2.9 are in Darfur where malnutrition levels remain high especially among children.
    1. Military Operations and Violence by Security Forces and Militiamen
    Aerial bombardment of civilian targets by the Sudanese Air Force (SAF) has been continuously reported between 15 and 30 November 2013. Areas of east Jebel Marra, including north of El-Malam, east of Deribat, and west of Tabit are most affected by the on-going aerial bombardment campaign.
    On 29 November 2013, ten people were killed in two separate aerial attacks that took place near Shengil Tobaya and in the Sharafa area in east Jebel Marra. In Shengil Tobaya, 7 people died and 8 others were seriously injured in one of the deadliest aerial bombardments in Darfur in the last two weeks. The victims were local people who had
    been on board a civilian vehicle on their way back home after attending the market of Tabit when a SAF military bomber attacked them and destroyed the vehicle. Five of the victims have been identified as Mr. Abakar Yagoub Mohamed, Mr. Ali Ahmed Abdalla, Mr. Mohamed Ali Ahmed, Mr. Osman Adam Mohamed and Ms. Zahra Ibrahim. In the Sharafa aerial attack, an Antonov bombed and killed three farmers – two men and a woman. The farmers were on board a horse-driven cart heading from their farms to their homes in Sharafa village. The names of the victims are Mr. Hashim Abakar Mohamed, Mr. Mustafa Eisa, and Ms. Hanan Saleh Juma.
    On 28 November 2013, five people were killed and more than 24 others injured in an armed attack by militiamen on a bus in the Tuen area. The bus was carrying civilians on route from Nyala to Zalingei when a number of militiamen opened fire on it in an intensive manner. Two of the victims were identified as Ms. Suad Hassan, a resident of Zalingei, and Mr. Adam Omar, a student at the University of Zalingei. Most of the injured were hit by bullets and 10 of them are in critical condition. They are receiving medical attention in Nierteti and Kass hospitals.
    On 26 November 2013, aerial bombardment in east Jebel Marra forced hundreds of families to flee their villages. No casualties were reported during this attack but about 350 houses were destroyed and at least 400 acres of millet, sorghum, okra and tomatoes were burned.
    On 23 November 2013 government-backed militiamen attacked a group of IDPs in Wadi Andur, 2 km east of Utash camp near Nyala, seriously injuring seven women and two men. In North Darfur, militiamen killed Mr. Abbas Abdallah El-Nur, a resident of Kassab IDP camp in Kutum locality. He was killed on 23 November 2013 at Bir El-Faki, 4 km northeast of Kassab IDP camp, while he was tending his cattle. On 23 November 2013 at least 4 members of the security forces and a civilian were killed and 25 others were wounded in Mershing locality in South Darfur State. The incident was provoked by a dispute between an army soldier and a member of the Popular Defense Forces (PDF) over payment of a barber’s fees. PDF elements killed the army soldier which provoked his colleagues to intervene and exchange fire with the PDF members. Two PDF members, a soldier and a civilian died in this encounter.
    On 21 November 2013 an army unit killed four people (Ms. Hanady Obeed, 17 years old, Mr. Omar Abdalla Musa, 28 years old, Mr. Mohamed Musa, 43 year old and Mr, Al-Mahi Ahmed Hassan, 35 years old) and injured six others. The incident reportedly took place in the market place in Menwachi, South Darfur State, when a soldier refused to pay the price of a packet of cigarettes which provoked the local people to protest against his attitude. Other army soldiers intervened to protect their colleague from the angry crowd and indiscriminately opened fire on them.
    On 20 November 2013 a contingent of the Sudanese army and the Central Reserve Police (Abu Tira) invaded Atash IDP camp near Nyala allegedly to inspect the camp for alcohol and drugs. They searched throughout the camp and confiscated mobile phones, money and household items. Five camp residents were arrested. The military force frightened the whole area and prevented doctors from working. As a result of this invasion three health centres which serve the residents of the camp were shut down.
    On 20 November 2013 the SAF killed three IDPs, including a pregnant woman, in Fanga area, North Darfur State. The victims of this airstrike had been on their way to the hospital in El-Fasher, when an Antonov military bomber directly hit the civilian vehicles carrying them during the early hours of the day.
    On 18 November 2013 aerial bombing killed four members of one family (Ms. Hawa Bahreldin Musa and her three children, Samia, 7 years old, Adam, 4 years old and Dar El-Salaam, 2 years old), while her husband Hamdan Juma, was critically injured. About 50 cows also perished or were wounded.
    On Sunday, 17 November 2013, the primary school in Keira area and water well in Katur area were destroyed by an airstrike. Many civilians fled to the valleys or sought protection under trees.
    On 17 November 2013, two civilians were killed by militiamen inside Kutum town in North Darfur State. In the first incident the militiamen killed Mr. Ahmed Abu Raseen, a pharmacist, while he was standing in front of his pharmacy at Kutum market, a few meters from an army post and security checkpoint. In the second incident, which occurred a few hours later, gunmen opened fire and killed Mr. Mohamed Abu Kaneesh, a soldier, who was on his way home after work. On 27 November 2013 militiamen stormed the home of Mr. Jaafar Mustafa Hassan, an elementary school teacher, in Kutum and shot him dead.
    On 16 November 2013, at least three IDPs (Mr. Mohamed Ibrahim Abakar, Ms. Maryam Abakar and Mr. Mohamed Abdelkarim), reportedly sustained various injuries during an attack by militiamen that targeted camp residents inside their dwellings in Abu Shouk camp, near El-Fasher. Mr. Abakar was arrested and robbed of about $126) and three mobile phones from his shop. In Birkat Seira in Saraf Omra locality, militiamen attacked Sheikh El-Nur Abakar and Abdalla Dumma inside their homes. They beat them with rifle butts and whipped them to the extent that both had to be treated in the Saraf Omra hospital.
    2. Farmers and Herders Clashes
    Frequent clashes between farmers and armed herdsmen over farmland invasions and destruction are growing in a worrisome manner. The farmers usually hail from the IDP communities while the herdsmen are largely regarded by the local people as members of the government-controlled Janjaweed militiamen. On 19 November 2013, herdsmen killed an IDP resident in Murnei in West Darfur State and in another incident in Wadi Um Shalaya, Azum locality in Central Darfur State herdsmen clashed with the local farmers and seriously injured two men, including a 70 year old man and two women. On 24 November 2013, residents of Sirba camps reported that a group of armed herdsmen released their camels and livestock on farmlands at gun point and when the victims protested, the herdsmen severely beat them with batons. Three farmers were seriously wounded. On 20 November 2013 at least 3 IDPs were killed and a dozen others wounded during a confrontation between the IDPs and armed herdsmen in Korma area near El-Fasher.
    The harvesting season is approaching and the destruction of farmlands and plantations at this crucial time is expected to significantly reduce agricultural produce in the area. The attacks of herdsmen against farmers and the widespread destruction of farmlands in this systematic manner during the harvest time seems to be a calculated strategy to inflict maximum damage on agricultural production in the affected areas and eventually prevent the IDPs and local communities from securing stable food, which will render them more vulnerable and totally dependent on relief rations.
    3. Inter-TribalViolence
    More than 50 IDPs were killed and many others wounded as a result of violent clashes between the Misseriya and Salamat tribes in Abuzar IDP camp, about 3 km from Um Dukhun town in Central Darfur State. Abuzar IDP camp mainly hosts people who fled their homes in rural areas during the fighting between the two tribes in April 2013. Approximately 104 dwellings that accommodate an estimated 520 people and two peace-building activity centres were destroyed. The Joint Sudanese and Chadian border police forces reportedly forced the attackers out of Um Dukhun. During intervention of the Joint Force nine Chadian soldiers and a Sudanese military man were killed. Several Salamat tribesmen were also killed and injured. In addition about 79 decomposed bodies of Salamat tribesmen killed by armed Misseriya tribesmen on 14 November 2013 were found in the area. The UNHCR reported that the fighting in this area has forced some 50,000 people to leave Darfur and seek refuge in Chad.
    This is the second time that an armed tribal group has attacked an IDP camp in Um Dukhun. On 28 October, suspected Salamat tribesmen attacked the new IDP camp of Almatar on the outskirts of Um Dukhun town. UN sources estimate that some 25,000 civilians have been displaced across Central Darfur State since April 2013 as a result of armed clashes between the Misseriya and Salamat tribes. UNHCR estimates that around 36,200 civilians have crossed Chad borders as refugees since January 2013. In addition, 3,400 civilians crossed Sudan’s borders with the Central African Republic as refugees during this period. In South Darfur State a group of Taisha and Misseriya tribesmen attacked Salamat villages near Markondi (145 km west of Nyala) at the border between Reheed El-Berdi and Kubum localities. There were reports of fatalities, injuries and stolen livestock. About 600 people have fled their homes in Kabassa, Umshoka, Aldelaib and Mondoa and taken refuge in the Reheed El-Berdi locality. The fighting has displaced an estimated 3,100 people from their villages to Kubum town; 2,500 people from Ed El-Fursan locality the majority of whom are women and children to Bulbul Timbisgo about 30 km west of Nyala and 400 people from Markondi to Domaya village, approximately 2 km west of Nyala. A further 150 people arrived in El- Sireaf IDP camp in Nyala from Markondi. Some 600 people have been displaced from Al-Huda village near Markondi and are now living in El-Sireaf IDP camp.
    4. Humanitarian needs in Darfur
    The humanitarian situation in Darfur is worsening and the need for life saving basics such as food, medicine, clean water and shelter is massive and requires urgent intervention. The situation will further worsen because of the weak harvest expected this year and also because of the destruction of crops by the nomads.
    Shortages of food items due to insecurity or because of increase in the price of goods, has been reported all over Darfur. In Sirba locality in West Darfur State the locals face a severe shortage of sorghum coupled with an unaffordable hike in the price due to exorbitant fees imposed by the security forces at checkpoints or during inspection by mobile security units. It has also been reported that the security forces are imposing restrictions on the transportation of sorghum from El-Geneina to the various localities. The price of a large sack of sorghum (about 100 kg) has increased within a period of three months from US$19 to US$49 and US$61 in some remote places. It seems that the security situation and administrative difficulties imposed on relief agencies are behind a decision of WFP to contract local traders in order to ensure the provision and distribution of food rations (millet, corn, sugar, oil, and salt) in some parts of North Darfur, including in Zam Zam IDP camp, south-west of El-Fasher which hosts more than 210,000 residents. This decision was rejected by the IDPs. The IDPs expressed fears that local traders do not have enough resources or logistical capabilities to deliver the food stuff, especially as most of the foodstuffs have to be imported from outside the State because of poor crop yields expected this year.
    The health and sanitary situation in the IDP camps across Darfur is worsening due to a lack of adequate hospitals and health centres compared to the number of camp residents. In Kalma camp, which hosts more than 260,000 residents, there are less than five health centres. In Atash IDP camp, which hosts about 130,000 IDPs, there has been an acute shortage of clean water for the last 15 days due to a lack of fuel to operate the water pumps. The lack of health and sanitation facilities as well as access to clean water is behind the frequent outbreak of diseases among camp residents, in particular malaria, typhoid, diarrhoea, hepatitis, and urinary retention.
    There are reports of an outbreak of Kala-azar “Leishmaniasis” among the residents of Zam Zam IDP camp. Medical sources in the area have confirmed that there are 2,160 cases of likely infections, including 1,500 cases of skin Kala-azar, and 660 cases of membrane Kala-azar infections, which could lead to the death of its victims if not treated in time. No cure or health care has been provided by the government or humanitarian organizations for Kala-azar since the disease emerged in the region in 2009. In January 2013 an outbreak of Kala-azar was reported in Zam Zam camp. Meanwhile, residents of Zam Zam complain about the spread of ring worm, especially among the middle school students, as well as malaria, diarrhoea, and typhoid. Around 40,000 students live in Zam Zam camp. One out of every three students is infected with ring worm. Late last year, there was an outbreak of yellow fever in Darfur region, in what the World Health Organization (WHO) termed "Africa's worst in decades". The total number of suspected yellow fever cases has reached 849, including 171 deaths (case fatality rate of 20.1 per cent).
    5. Security and Humanitarian Situation in South Kordofan, West Kordofan and Blue Nile States
    The security and humanitarian situation in the conflict-affected areas in South and West Kordofan States and the Blue Nile State is deteriorating rapidly due to renewed fighting between the government army and the Alliance of Sudan Revolutionary Forces (SRF). Military operations, including aerial bombardment of civilian targets, have been reported during the last two weeks in the western part of South Kordofan State around
    Dilling and Abukarshola areas. Last week witnessed the most destructive attacks as it marked the beginning of the military campaign declared by President Omar Al-Bashir to end the rebellion in all parts of Sudan by the end of 2013. Aerial bombardment by SAF in Mashamshaka, Hijarat and Ummarih, south and east of Abu Karshola, led to the killing and displacement of the inhabitants of entire villages in the area including women and children. It has also destroyed farmlands and plantations.
    On 17 November 2013, the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) announced that its forces attacked the army garrison and the police headquarters in Abu Zabad town in West Kordofan State. They claimed that Abu Zabad, situated at about 60 km of Dilling, is used as a military support base by the Sudanese armed forces from which army units are sent to the war zones in South and West Kordofan States. The fighting reportedly took place on 16 November 2013 and claimed the lives of hundreds of soldiers, including senior military officers from both sides.
    Following the attack and withdrawal of JEM from Abu Zabad, the security forces launched a massive campaign of arrest and detention of civilians in the area. They particularly targeted young people, local traders and owners of transport vehicles. In Al-Dabab area, the security forces arrested scores of family members and relatives of the late JEM Commander Fedail Al-Rahoma who hails from the area and was killed during the attack. The security forces accused the local people of collaborating with and passing intelligence to the SRF. There are also reports that pro-government militiamen entered the town, looted and abused the local people while searching their houses. There were also reports that militiamen sexually assaulted many women.
    On 17 November 2013, SAF attacked the Buram area and Tanasa village, south Kadugli, capital of South Kordofan State with Sukhoi military bombers. Two children aged 10 and 7 years old were killed while another child and a woman were wounded. A number of houses and food stores in Tanasa were either completely burned or seriously damaged by fire as a result of the attacks. In Buram area, there were no reports of casualties but the bombing destroyed a number of farms and plantations. On 18 November 2013 at least six civilians were reportedly killed and 18 others were injured in Kujurya village, Dilling locality. Three of the deceased are members of one family. Many houses and farms were destroyed and dozens of cattle perished. The attack also forced more than 2,700 civilians to leave their villages and live as IDPs. The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) on its part attacked Kadugli with rockets on 19 November 2013. The rockets reportedly killed two civilians and wounded four others. The attack also damaged El-Manar primary school in the Hajar El-Mak neighbourhood.
    Another worrisome development is the increase in the activity of militia groups and PDF elements in South Kordofan, especially in the northern, western and eastern parts of the State. On 27 November 2013, PDF militiamen killed two farmers, including Mr. Mohamed Malik, 20 years old and injured another farmer in Al-Tomat Neighbourhood, Al-Basia Tagali, South Kordofan State. The incident took place when the PDF members invaded farmlands owned by the local people. In the last 6 months more than 80 attacks on unarmed civilians were carried out by pro-government militiamen, which caused the death of at least 30 local residents and injured many others, mainly
    members of Tagali tribe. These incidents were reported to the police in the area but no action was taken as the victims are considered as likely supporters of the SPLM-N.
    At present there is no precise information about the exact numbers of people displaced by the recent fighting in South Kordofan State as no assessment teams have been allowed to go to the affected areas where hostilities are taking place. However, the SPLM-N indicated that between 21 and 25 November 2013 about 24,920 people fled their homes in the northern parts of South Kordofan State, mainly in Rashad locality. According to the OCHA, the fighting between the Sudanese armed forces and SRF in South Kordofan in the first two weeks of November 2013 has displaced an estimated 1,300 people. The areas affected are Kortala, Habila locality, Deleima in Al-Qoz locality and Abu Zabad. As a result of the on-going fighting no emergency assistance has been provided to these newly displaced people. No movements have been allowed on the Kadugli–El-Obeid highway since fighting started on 12 November 2013 and consequently no relief organisations or UN agencies have entered the area since then.
    In the Blue Nile State, insecurity, fighting and fear of aerial bombardment is forcing hundreds of civilians to leave their areas and seek refuge across Sudan’s international borders. In the first two weeks of November 2013, at least 2,000 civilians fled the Blue Nile State to the Albonj area in the Republic of South Sudan. These war victims are from Baldogo village and its environs (34 km south of Bau town). So far the UNHCR documented that some 231,000 Sudanese refugees from South Kordofan and Blue Nile States have sought shelter in South Sudan and Ethiopia since June 2011. Some 198,000 refugees currently live in camps in South Sudan and the remaining 33,000 refugees (mainly from Blue Nile) have been in camps in the Assosa region of Ethiopia.


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