Human Rights Update: Update on the Impact of Aerial Bombardment on Civilians: February 2014

Despite the AUHIP-sponsored peace talks that took place between the government of Sudan (GoS) and the SPLM-N between 14 February and 2 March 2014, the GoS did not halt its campaign of air attacks against civilian targets in SPLM-N controlled areas in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile States. Indeed, during the month of February, the number of civilians killed and injured in Southern Kordofan was the highest recorded by the monitors on the ground since the current conflict began in 2011. 

As talks were about to begin, aircraft from the Sudanese Air Force systematically bombarded six villages in Andulu District and in neighbouring Umserndiba on 12 and 13 February 2014. In one particularly egregious incident on 13 February, 13 civilians were killed and 16 injured when Sudanese air force jets fired 28 rockets into the crowded market area of Thorlatiso village in Andulu District, Um Dorein County, Southern Kordofan. The dead included five women, two of whom were pregnant. The attacks on the other five settlements killed 14 and injured 22. The villages that were attacked were entirely civilian in character and can in no way be defined as legitimate military targets.

In Blue Nile State, while the number of air strikes on civilian settlements was also significantly lower than was recorded in January (down from 16 to 5), the attacks nonetheless continued throughout the period of the peace talks, with monitors on the ground documenting five air strikes on civilian settlements in Wadaka and Uabos districts of Kurmok County between 12 and 24 February.  Although no civilians were killed in these attacks, they nonetheless caused widespread property damage and population displacement.