Gradual increase in violence sows fear among communities in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile
During the months of October and November 2016 incidents of human rights violations in Southern Kordofan (SK) seemed to be on the rise following a lull in the fighting over the previous few months and the humanitarian situation continued to deteriorate. There were nine shelling incidents, generating 89 shells, one looting incident, one bombing incident and one abduction, with three people injured. The shelling incidents created a lot of fear among the population, discouraging some from going to the fields. Antonov planes have been seen circling several times in both SK and Blue Nile (BN) states but our monitors did not report any incidents in BN during the period. All incidents mentioned in this report constitute a breach of the four month unilateral ceasefire declared by the President of Sudan, Omar Al Bashir, on 17 June 2016, and extended in October to the end of 2016.
Witnesses give testimony, court adjourned until 23 January
This update is a summary of five court sessions that were conducted between 19th December 2016 and 9th January 2017. The sessions were before Justice Dr. Osama M. Abdalla at Khartoum Centre court and all parties were present. During those sessions, three accusing witnesses and two defense witnesses delivered their testimonies. The witnesses were questioned by both the lawyers’ panel and the judge. The judge also examined the defendants. On 9th January 2017, the twentieth court session was held and the judge adjourned the court after instructing both panels of lawyers to submit their closing arguments before 23rd January 2017, the day he had scheduled to make a final court ruling.
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Welcome calm but fear of resumed aerial bombing in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile remains
Since June 2016, the incidents of violence and human rights violations carried out by Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) in Southern Kordofan (SK) and Blue Nile (BN) states (also known as the “Two Areas”) have reduced significantly. This is not unusual for the time of the year since the period June to November is the rainy season and fighting has traditionally been low as roads are flooded and rendered impassable for any military operations. The difference this time is that the President of Sudan, Omar Al Bashir, declared a four month ceasefire on 17 June 2016. This unilateral ceasefire declaration is applicable to SK, BN (and Darfur) and all the incidents mentioned in this report constitute a breach of this ceasefire. There was some bombing by SAF planes in SK and the planes have been sighted circling the skies in both SK and BN for several months but without dropping bombs. There are also reports indicating new movement of SAF troops and formations, as well as new battle equipment, at the frontlines in the Two Areas.