With international community’s attention focused on unfolding events in South Sudan, President Bashir of Sudan has taken the opportunity to a launch a major military offensive against the armed opposition forces who have controlled significant areas of Sudan’s Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile States since they took up arms against the Khartoum government in 2011.
As an integral part of this offensive, the Sudanese Air Force has stepped up its aerial bombardment of the civilian population who live in these opposition-held territories, with December seeing the highest number of bombing attacks on populated areas – and the highest number of civilian casualties – since the current conflict in Southern Kordofan began over two and a half years ago.
January 2014 saw no respite in the number of bombing attacks launched against civilians in Southern Kordofan, with monitors on the ground documenting the third highest number of air strikes recorded since the current conflict began in 2011. The intensity of the attacks was particularly high in the first half of the month, although it dropped noticeably in the second half of the month, with only three attacks reported between 15 and 31 January.
In the second half of January, however, an increased number of bombings were documented in Blue Nile. Human rights monitors on the ground in Blue Nile reported a total of 15 air strikes launched by the Sudanese air force on civilian areas in the areas they monitor over the month of January, the highest number since they began reporting in April 2013.