UN aid boss 'shocked' by North Kordofan attack, Sudan

April 29, 2013 (Radio Dabanga)

The United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan Ali Al-Zatari is "shocked" by the attack last Saturday on Umm Rawaba and other areas of North Kordofan, his office said in a written statement.

His statement comes two days after the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) raided Umm Rawaba, overpowering local security forces, firing at government buildings and looting the market.

According to Zatari, destroying civilian installations such as power stations and public facilities is "not the way to approach peace."

He also pointed to the renewed shelling of the South Kordofan capital of Kadugli by anti-government forces:

"Violence can only set back efforts to resolve the conflict in Sudan by peaceful means and is particularly disappointing in the context of the direct talks between the Government and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North that began in Addis Ababa last week."

Army regains control of Umm Rawaba

After the SRF raid in Umm Rawaba, the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) announced to be back in control of the town.

Colonel Al Sawarmi Khalid Saad, SAF spokesman, released a statement claiming that government forces managed to contain the situation and restore order after the retreat of the rebels.

Rebels killed an unconfirmed number of policemen in the surprise attack on the town, which lies north of Abbasiya district in South Kordofan and east of El Obeid and El Rahad on the route to capital of White Nile State.

A source in El Rahad told Radio Tamazuj that hundreds of families are displaced by the SRF attack from the areas of Abu Karshola, Allahukarim, Shamshaga, Tandalti and Umm Rawaba.

SRF is an alliance of rebel forces recruiting primarily in Darfur and Kordofan. The Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) has confirmed its role in the attack on Umm Rawaba.

"The goal of this attack is to weaken the government to realize our strategic plan to topple the regime," JEM spokesman Gibril Adam told Reuters on Saturday.

Rebels reportedly looted a market and several banks before withdrawing. According to Reuters, the size of the force seen in the town was 20 vehicles. Sudan Tribune reported that the force involved in the operation was significantly larger.

North Kordofan Governor

The Governor of North Kordofan Mutasim Mirghani Hussain Zaki Dean condemned the attacks of the SRF in Umm Rawaba and announced "his state was monitoring … the movement of rebels in Abu Karshola and in Al Dyair Mountain".

He made the announcement during an address to the Popular Defense Forces in El Obeid on Saturday and added that the armed forces and "other security forces" were stationed in all areas of El Rahad, Abu Dukna locality.

Zaki noted in his address that Umm Rawaba was "living in peace" and affirmed that "fighters of the state" were ready to "repulse the perfidious attack".

SRF statement

In a statement on Saturday, SRF said it had "liberated" the garrisons of Abu Karshola and of Um Ketera. Its forces then claimed to have continued "chasing NCP forces until they entered Umm Rawaba city and the Allah Kareem area, to Samih city up to the Rahad gate".

Abdulaziz Adam Alhilu, chief of staff of SRF, said the move came in "retaliation to the perfidious attacks carried out by the NCP in the previous days".

For his part, SPLM-N spokesman Arnu Ngutulu Lodi, said his forces' attacks east of Kadugli on Saturday, were to "liberate the villages of Al Remaila, Al Kibeba, Al Shiheta and Al Bejaya".

He said the towns were controlled by "popular defense forces and militias … who killed children and displaced and looted innocent people".


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