Sudanese army deny reports on air strikes in Southern Kordofan

August 31, 2011 (Sudan Tribune)

Sudanese army dismissed reports by rights groups about air strikes on civilian positions in the Southern Kordofan stressing that situation is calm as it observes an unilateral truce announced by the President Omer Hassan Al-Bashir.

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said two days ago that some 26 people were killed as result of air attacks carried by the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) in Kauda, Delami, and Kurchi areas of Southern Kordofan during August.

The indiscriminate bombings according to a joint statement released on 30 August took place despite a two-week unilateral ceasefire declared by President Bashir on 23 August, the two groups said based on reports received from local organization in Southern Kordofan.

"These allegations are not true," said SAF spokesperson Alsoarmi Khaled in a press statement he released on Wednesday. He further reaffirmed that the Sudanese army is committed to the ceasefire of 23 August.

The military spokesperson went further to accuse the fighters of Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in South Kordofan of seeking to launch attacks on SAF’s positions in areas east of the Nuba Mountains, taking advantage of the ceasefire.

Alsoarmi underlined that the SPLM did not react positively to the presidential declaration, stressing that the army continue to observe the ceasefire and protect civilians in the restive region.

Sudan two days ago accused the South Sudan government of providing military support to the rebel groups in South Kordofan and Darfur regions. Khartoum officially lodged a complaint to the United Nations Security Council saying that Juba aims to destabilize political stability and disrupt peace in Sudan.

The US State Department issued a statement calling on the Sudanese government to stop air attacks in Southern Kordofan but also expressed concerns over Khartoum’s accusation of Juba’s support to the rebels.

"The United States urges the Government of Sudan to adhere to its commitment and to immediately cease aerial bombings, particularly of civilian areas," said State Department spokesperson, Victoria Nuland on Wednesday.

"We are also concerned over allegations of support from the Government of South Sudan to military forces aligned with Sudan People’s Liberation Movement—North in Southern Kordofan," she added.

She further called to allow free humanitarian access to affected population in the region and urged the Sudanese parties to engage talks to reach a permanent cessation of hostilities and a political settlement.

Khartoum refuses to hold talks sponsored by an international broker and call on the SPLM to deal directly with the government. But the opposition party refuses such procedure and says it will negotiate only under a process mediated by a third party.

President Bashir rejected a framework agreement reached by the two parties in Addis Ababa last June saying the era of international peace processes with the rebel groups is over.


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