As elections in Sudan approach in April 2015, the conflict in Southern Kordofan is being drawn in to the political debate. President Bashir had promised that all wars would be ended by the end of 2014 and that the elections would be held in a peaceful environment. The continuation of the war, among other factors, is undermining international confidence in the elections. At the same time, rebels have threatened to stop the elections4 in Southern Kordofan and have claimed that their recent offensives have been undertaken in an effort to support election boycotts.
In this tense context, the government carried out significant attacks in both February and March, continuing the dry season offensive that has been underway since November 2014. During the reporting period, which includes all of February and the first three weeks of March, there were 68 verified incidents of either bombing or shelling, 47 in February and 21 in the first three weeks of March. The attacks caused significant damage, with ten deaths confirmed in February,6 and 61 injuries (44 in February and 17 in March). A particular facet of the violence in the last months has been the high level of injuries to children (16 in the period). By way of comparison, this is more than half the total number of injuries to children monitored throughout 2014. The attacks also caused significant destruction to civilian infrastructure and assets, claiming 80 head of livestock (70 in February and 10in March) and damaging hospital and school facilities. Finally, there were reports of the use of cluster bombs, a phenomenon that has not been common in the conflict to date.