Intensified attacks on South Kordofan villages displace more than 100,000

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The security situation in the Nuba Mountains, South Kordofan, deteriorated since mid April, when government forces began their attacks on areas in Rashad and Habila localities. As of 12 May, the estimated number of newly displaced in South Kordofan is close to 116,000.

Several areas west of Rashad town were bombed by the Sudanese Air Force from 13 to 18 April. The area of Abri in neighbouring Habila locality was bombed on 28 April, the Nuba-based Human Rights and Development Organisation (Hudo) reported in its April report.

The Sudan Armed Forces, backed by the paramilitary Popular Defence Forces, and the Rapid Support Forces also attacked the areas on the ground.

The aerial and ground attacks on the villages west of Rashad town, Um Darawa, Tendimin, El Beyeera, El Mangala, Serein, Elsaraf, Woroula, Douma, El Mansour, El Moglum and Keleiro, have resulted in a wave of displacement towards Rashad town, where more than 7,000 newly displaced have occupied schools and mosques. Other families fled to Abu Gebeiha and Abbasiya, and as far as Um Rawaba and El Obeid in North Kordofan.

Elders and pregnant women, who failed to walk a distance of 15 km to Rashad, sought refuge in the mountains. The newly displaced are, apart from food and shelter, in dire need of drinking water, as many water resources have been destroyed.

In the areas controlled by the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), the Sudanese Air Force has intensified its aerial bombardments in April, in particular the area around Kauda. The bombings also affected the Nuba who were living in refugee camps in the South Sudanese Upper Nile State and Unity State, and fled from the fighting there, and returned to the southern areas of South Kordofan.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that per 12 May, the estimated number of newly displaced in South Kordofan, as a result of the intensified fighting in April and May, is close to 116,000.

Political detainees

When President Omar al Bashir ordered the release of all political prisoners in Sudan on 7 April, the majority of political detainees from the Nuba Mountains were excluded, the Hudo report said. Hudo states that it has received the names of two men from the Nuba Mountains who were arrested in March by Military Intelligence, and are currently being detained in El Obeid, the capital of North Kordofan: Mustafa Mohamed Abdallah (27) arrested in Jebel Felata on 6 March 6, and Johana Ali Kalu (32) arrested in Rashad on the same day.

Hudo received unconfirmed information that some young people were arrested during the attacks on villages west of Rashad.

Furthermore, Hudo reported that Khalid Rida (40), of Egyptian nationality, arrested by the security forces in September 2013, and Matinda Madeca (34) from Congo, arrested in February this year, are still being detained without any legal charges. Contact with their embassies in Sudan has been denied to them.